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Xu3ac's Semitic ZTest ant) ^Translation Series* 

VOL. I : The Laughable Stories collected by BAR-HsBRiEus. 
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Semitic Zt%t ann Cran^lfltian ^erfe#, 

r>oi. X. 


















E. A.WALLIS BUDGE, M. A., Litt. D., D. Lit., 



IConbon : 


[Ml Rights Reserved.] 

11AR 9 n% 





Major-General Sir F. R.WINGATE, 

K.C.B., K. C.M.G., D.S.O., R.A., A.D.C. 







In the first volume of ray edition of the '*Book of 
Governors" by Thoraas of Marga I gave a brief ac- 
count of Rabban Horraizd, the founder of the famous 
monastery at Al-K6sh which bears his narae, and which 
is situated about thirty railes to the North of the city 
of M6sul, and a series of extracts, with translations, 
from the life of the saint which was written in Syriac 
by Simon, the disciple of Mar Yozadhak. Simon's life 
of Rabban Hormizd was, at that time, unknown to 
scholars, and during the years which have followed 
the publication of the extracts from it many requests 
have been made to me to publish it in full, with an 
English translation. The manuscript from which I had 
edited the extracts was copied for me by the Deacon 
tsa bar-Isha'ya at Al-K6sh in 1892 from a comparat- 
ively modern manuscript which was in the possession 
of the monks of the Monastery of Rabban Hormizd, 
and was greatly prized by them. When I was staying 
at the Monastery in November and December 1 890 the 


courteous and hospitable monks of that old-world 
house shewed me their manuscript one night and 
allowed me to read it through, and I came to the 
conclusion that the text was unknown in Europe and 
was worth publishing. I asked the Abbot for permis- 
sion to have a copy of the manuscript made for me, 
and it was granted, and the above mentioned deacon 
undertook the task. Shortly afterwards one of the 
monks in the Monastery produced another manuscript 
containing a somewhat lengthy metrical Life of Rab- 
ban H6rmizd by Mar Sergius of Adh&rbaijan, and this 
also seemed to be unknown in Europe. The compo- 
sition contains 8496 lines, and is divided into twenty- 
two "gates" or sections, each of which is named after 
a letter of the Syriac alphabet ; the longest **gate" 
contains 1098 lines and the shortest 50 lines, and the 
last letter of the last word of each line ends with the 
letter after which the "gate" is named. When we con- 
sider the length of the text, and the skill with which 
the consistency of this arrangement has been main- 
tained, no doubt can exist concerning the profound 
knowledge of Syriac which the writer must have pos- 
sessed. A great many verbal forms, adverbs etc., are, 
as was to be expected, artificial, and are not to be 
found in ancient Syriac texts, but the greater number 
of them are of interest. An important feature of the 
manuscript which I saw were the numerous glosses, 
over five hundred in number, which were written in red 


ink on the margins of the pages, and the fact of their 
existence* proved that the composition was some hun- 
dreds of years old, and that the Nestorians considered 
it to be of sufficient value to merit careful explana- 
tion and annotation. Permission to have a copy of 
the manuscript made was given to me by the owner, 
and when the deacon 'fsa had finished his copy it 
was sent to me, together with that of the prose Life 
of Rabban Hormizd, and reached London in due 

The manuscript of the prose Life of Rabban Hor- 
mizd from which my copy was taken had neither 
colophon nor date, and it appeared to have been 
written in the XIX th century ; enquiries made, how- 
ever, elicited the information that the text was de- 
rived from a manuscript of the XII th or XIII th cen- 
tury which had been in the possession of a native 
gentleman of great age, but which at his death 
had disappeared and could not be traced. The 
manuscript of the metrical Life of Rabban Hormizd 
from which my copy was taken was declared to have 
been written in the XVIIth century, and this manu- 
script was, in turn, said to have been copied from 
one belonging to an older period ; further information 
on the subject I was unable to obtain. The prose 
Life, it is easy to see, is a work which, in its original 
form, might well date from a period before the Xllth 
century, and the metrical Life, which is evidently 


based upon it, is clearly some two or three centuries 
later. It is impossible to assign an exact date for 
the composition of the later work, chiefly because so 
little is known about the history of the Monastery 
of Rabban Hormizd during the Middle Ages, but 
when it was written that famous religious house 
would appear to have been in a very flourishing 
condition ; for the great length of the metrical Life 
of the Saint, and the fact that it was sung through- 
out on the days of the festivals of his commemora- 
tion indicate that the brethren were numerous, and 
that the following of Rabban Hormizd was a large 
one. From the compositions published in the present 
work the following facts of the Life of Rabban Hor- 
mizd may be ascertained. 

Hormizd was born at Beth LS,phat, that is to say 
Shiraz, in the country of the HuziyS, either in the 
latter half of the sixth or in the first half of the sev- 
enth century of our era ; his father was called Joseph 
and his mother Thecla, and both parents were wealthy 
Christians and were famed for their almsgiving. At 
the age of twelve he was sent to school, at eighteen 
he could repeat by heart the Psalms and the New 
Testament, and at twenty he set out on a journey 
to the desert of Scete, where he wished to become 
a monk. On the road he met three monks of the 
Monastery of Bar-'Idta, who urged him to become 
an inmate of their monastery, and he did so; a few 


months after his entrance there he " received the ton- 
sure and thus finally adopted the profession of monk. 
He lived a hard, stern life, and his ascetic virtues were 
so great that he is declared to have raised a dead 
youth to life, and to have turned water into oil. When 
he had served in the monastery for seven years Syl- 
vanus. Bishop of Kardo, visited the Abbot on certain 
business, and discovering by conversation with Hor- 
mizd, who was now twenty-seven years of age, that 
the young man was far advanced in the spiritual life, 
persuaded him to forsake the monastery, and to make 
a cell for himself wherein he could follow the life of 
an anchorite. This he did, and his life became more 
strict than ever ; he fasted for ten days at a time and 
enjoyed no regular sleep at nights, and such short 
intervals of oblivion as exhausted nature made him 
fall into he obtained by leaning against the stone 
walls of his cell ; he passed most of each day and of 
each night in vigil, and in prayer, which was accom- 
panied by tears. This manner of life is declared to 
have conduced greatly to the refinement of his spirit- 
ual nature, and to have enabled him to understand 
'^things near and afar off", and to have enabled him 
to drive away the Devil and his hosts who tormented 
him frequently, and came to him in forms of various 
kinds. When Hormizd had lived in and near the Mon- 
astery of Bar-'Idta for thirty-nine years, he departed 
and took up his abode in the monastery of Abba 


Abraham of Risha ; he was now fifty -nine years of 
age, and was able to perform miracles of all kinds. 
Six or seven years later, L ^., at the age of sixty- 
five or sixty-six, he left the second of the monasteries 
which had been his homes, and passing out of the 
country of Marga went and settled down in the moun- 
tain of B6th 'Edhrai near Al-Kosh. When he had been 
there some little time the people in the neighbourhood 
offered to build him a monastery, and Khodhahwi, 
the son of Shubhhi, having contributed seven talents 
of silver, and 'Ukbe, the governor of Mosul, three 
more, the work was taken in hand straightway, and 
the building was finished in twenty months ; the con- 
secration ceremony was performed by Jomarsa II, the 
Catholicus, who signed a deed declaring that the mon- 
astery was to be under the direct jurisdiction of the 
Nestorian Patriarch, and that no Metropolitan or Bi- 
shop should have any authority to interfere in any 
way with Rabban Hormizd's administration of it. 
'Ukbe, the governor of Mosul, was clearly a patron 
of the Nestorians, for he expelled the Jacobites from 
the district wherein Hormizd lived, and Nestorians 
came and settled in their place. At no great distance 
from Al-K6sh was the town of Arsham, where there 
were many Jacobites, but under the favour of the 
governor 'Abhd-lsho', Bishop of B6th Nuhdh^ran, and 
Hormizd went and consecrated a Nestorian church 
there. Close by, too, was the Jacobite monastery of 


Bezkin, where, according to the narrator of Hormizd's 
life, the monks led a very immoral life, and bitter 
enmity existed between its Abbot and his monks, and 
Hormizd, and his followers. As a result of this ten 
monks of Bezkin went to Hormizd's cell and tried to kill 
him, and having failed to do so, they brought against 
him serious charges of having committed fornication 
and murder ; Hormizd, however, was protected by 
Providence from the assault of those who intended 
to murder him, and was able to prove before the 
governor of Mosul his innocence of the foul charges 
which had been brought against him. Soon after this 
the son of the Arab governor of Mosul, who was sick 
unto death, was healed by H6rmizd, whereupon the 
monks of the Monastery of Bezkin joined with those 
of the Monastery of Mar Mattai on Gebel MakKib in 
making an attempt to drive him out of the district, 
but they were unsuccessful ; Divine Providence see- 
ing that the monks of the former house had filled up 
the measure of their iniquity decreed their destruc- 
tion, and sent an angel to carry it out forthwith. The 
angel carried in his right hand a crowbar wherewith 
he smote the walls of the Monastery of Bezkin and 
overthrew them, and the governor 'Ukbe only suc- 
ceeded in escaping with difficulty ; as soon as the Nes- 
torians of Arsham, and Har^bha, and Kezyon heard 
what had happened they swarmed over the mountains 
and carried off everything which they could remove. 


The destruction of the Monastery of Bezkin made 
bold the Nestorians in the neighbourhood in general, 
and Hormizd in particular, for he was moved to go 
to the Monastery of Mattai and destroy an idol which 
was said to be worshipped there. Unknown to his 
monks H6rmizd set out at daybreak, and arrived 
at the Jacobite monastery at sunset. The journey 
must have been hard work for the old man, for 
from Al-K6sh to Mar Mattai by any road cannot be 
a distance of less than twenty miles ; the climb up 
from the plain to the top of the mountain on which 
the monastery is built was long and extremely tiring 
for aged feet, but Hormizd, animated by his fanatical 
courage and spirit, found it no obstacle to his pro- 
gress. When he arrived at the door of the Monastery 
he spoke to the porter civilly, and having been de- 
ceived by a number of falsehoods which Hormizd 
told him, he led him into the building, and having 
brought him into the place of the shrine of the holy 
man Mar Mattai, he left him for the night. As soon 
as he was alone Hormizd prayed, and the angel of 
the Lord having come to his assistance, he broke 
open the shrine, and took out from beneath it "a 
"miserable little idol of brass, the eyes of which were 
**of gems made of striped beryls". According to the 
historian of Hormizd's life it was **Marcion the sor- 
cerer", who flourished in the second century, who led 
astray and corrupted the Jacobites, and taught them 


to hide "miserable little idols" in their shrines, and 
his error was approved of and ratified by Cyril of 
Alexandria, the great opponent of Nestorius from 
A. D. 428 to 444. The angel who was with Hormizd 
told him that these idols, or figures, were intended 
to protect their worshippers from evil spirits and de- 
vils of every kind, but the fact that they were placed 
**in the lowermost parts" of the shrines, i. ^., beneath 
them, indicates that they were believed to protect the 
shrine itself and the building in which it was con- 
tained. That Marcion or Cyril introduced the custom 
of placing figures or idols under shrines may well 
be 'doubted, for it is known that the Babylonians 
and Assyrians hoped to protect their buildings by 
means of figures of gods or devils which they buried 
beneath the pavements of certain parts of them. A 
similar custom existed, of course, in Egypt, but it is 
far more likely that the Jacobites inherited their be- 
lief in the efficacy of magical figures of gods from 
the Pagan inhabitants of Mesopotamia than that they 
adopted it from the Egyptians. Cyril of Alexandria, 
who is, in our text, called the * 'priest of devils and 
the minister of fiends", may have permitted the Me- 
sopotamian Jacobites to retain the heathen custom be- 
cause he was familiar with it in Egypt, but whether 
he did so through the influence of the Egyptian sor- 
ceress "Kaki", i. e. KdxT], cannot be said. H6rmizd 
having stolen the brass figure from the shrine of Mar 


Mattai was taken by the angel of the Lord and carried 
back by miraculous agency to his own monastery, 
where he at once displayed his theft to the one hun- 
dred and eleven monks who formed his household. 
As a result of certain prayers made by Hormizd the 
brass figure began to speak, and to bewail his evil 
estate and to lament that he had become the laughing 
stock of those who had once worshipped him ; to de- 
grade him still more George a priest took the idol 
and carried it about through the villages and told 
all the people its history. The next exploit of Hor- 
mizd was to go again to the Monastery of Mar Mattai, 
and, having obtained access to the chamber where the 
books were kept, to defile and destroy a number of 
Jacobite works by means of a fountain of filthy water, 
which welled up there in answer to his prayers ; as 
soon as this act of destruction was committed the 
water ceased to flow, and the * 'angel of the Lord*' 
carried him bodily out of the monastery and depo- 
sited him outside the gate, from which place he made 
his way home. 

Soon after these things Hormizd involved himself 
in a dispute with Ignatius, who appears to have been 
the archimandrite of Mar Mattai, and who was said 
to offer up birds, kids, sheep, cats, apes, etc., in his 
cell as offerings to the devil whom he worshipped, 
and to burn magical drugs instead of incense. Igna- 
tius bewitched the governor of Mosul by means of 


certain magical cakes which were made in the form 
of the devil whom he worshipped, and succeeded in 
inducing him to summon Hormizd into his presence 
that he might witness a contest between the magical 
powers which both Ignatius and Hormizd claimed to 
possess. This governor was not Ukb^, but his suc- 
cessor who was called 'Ali, and he seems to have 
been an intimate friend of Ignatius, who had worked 
his sorceries upon his sick son, a boy of thirteen. 
Hormizd came in answer to the urgent summons of 
*Ali, and having walked over the waters of the Tigris 
into Mosul by his miraculous power, he entered the 
governor's house and stood before him. When all 
was ready Ignatius invoked his devils, and they came 
and carried him up into the air to make manifest their 
great power, but Hormizd laid a ban upon them in 
the name of Christ, and made them to stay in mid- 
air, and to hold Ignatius fast there for a season. 
When he was satisfied that he had displayed the 
superiority of his power to the governor and his com- 
pany, he removed the ban from the devils and ordered 
them to drop Ignatius down upon the earth ; this they 
did straightway and he fell to the ground, and his body 
burst asunder, and he died, even as did Arius. Thus 
Hormizd once again triumphed over the Jacobites, and 
he convinced the governor of the greatness of his 
power, by healing his son ; finally he died in his own 
monastery, aged eighty-six or eighty-seven years. 



A perusal of the Lives of Rabban Hormizd will 
convince the reader that they are not of any great 
historical value, but that they are, notwithstanding, 
of considerable importance there can be no doubt. 
They describe incidentally how the famous Monastery 
near Al-^6sh came to be built, and they illustrate 
very clearly the character of Nestorian Christianity in 
the seventh and following centuries of our era. They 
prove that the belief in magic was rife both among 
the Nestorians and Jacobites, and that several cen- 
turies of Christianity had not succeeded in eliminat- 
ing it from their minds. They believed that men 
who led ascetic lives obtained the power of working 
miracles and of raising the dead, and of altering and 
suspending the laws of nature whenever the interests 
of themselves or of their followers demanded it. It is 
also clear that the followers of each saint ascribed 
to him in due order healing and life-giving attributes, 
which, they asserted, were identical in power and 
efficacy with those of Christ and His Apostles, The 
character of Hormizd is well described, and may be 
taken as a good type of that of all great Nestorian 
ascetics from his own day to the present time ; we 
see that he was curiously humble in some things, 
and unnaturally vain in others, and that abject self- 
abasement and intense conceit were mingled in equal 
proportions in his disposition. He was, however, a 
spiritual force in the country wherein he lived, and 


the mediaeval Christianity of Mesopotamia and of the 
mountainous districts to the north and north-east of 
Mosul owes much to him and his fellows, whose holy 
though unpractical lives moved the peoples about 
them to godly works, and whose acts were devoted 
to the attempt to stem the mighty tide of Muhamma- 
danism which was flooding the land everywhere. Too 
much attention must not, of course, be paid to the 
statements made about the Jacobites by the Nestor- 
ians in their works, for then, as now, these sects 
were very jealous of each other, and the description 
of the baptism of the son of the governor of Mosul, 
as well as that of the trial of the magical powers of 
Hormizd and Ignatius, must be received with great 
caution. Before we pass to the consideration of the 
Life of Bar-'Idta it may be well to describe briefly 
the Monastery of Rabban Hormizd as it exists in our 

This building lies about twenty-eight or thirty miles 
to the north of Mosul, and about a mile from the 
little Chaldaean town of Al-K6sh, which is famous 
among the Christian sects of Mesopotamia as the 
birth-place of Nahum the Prophet. It is built half 
about half way up the range of mountains which 
encloses the plain of Mosul on the north, and stands 
in a sort of amphitheatre, which is approached by a 
rocky path that leads through a narrow defile ; this 
path has been paved by generations of monks. The 


church is of stone and is of a dusky red colour ; it 
is built upon an enormous rock. In the hills round 
about the church and buildings of the monastery are 
rows of caves hewn out of the solid rock, in which 
the stern ascetics of former generations lived and 
died. They have neither doors nor any protection 
from the inclemency of the weather, and the chill 
which they strike into the visitor gives an idea of 
what those who lived in them must have suffered 
from the frosts of winter and the drifting rain. Some 
of them have niches hewn in their sides or backs in 
which the monks probably slept, but many lack even 
these means of comfort. The cells are separate one 
from the other, and are approached by narrow ter- 
races, but some of them are perched in almost in- 
accessible places, and, unless other means of entrance 
existed in former days, could only have been ap- 
proached by the monks crawling down from the crest 
of the mountain and swinging themselves into them. 
I saw no marks of fire in any of the cells. Some cells 
have a second small cave hewn out behind the larger 
one which is entered through an opening just large 
enough for a man of average size to crawl through. 
The monks belong to the order of Saint Anthony and 
live stern lives. They eat meat on Easter Day and 
Christmas Day only, and their usual food consists of 
boiled wheat and lentils, and dark - coloured, heavy 
bread cakes. They drink neither wine nor spirits, and 


they have neither light nor fire. They drink rain 
water which they preserve in rock cisterns. They are 
called to prayer by the ringing of a bell at sunset, 
midnight, day-break, and at certain times of the day. 
The number of the monks in 1820 was about fifty; 
in 1843 it was thirty-nine ; in 1879 — 80 it was sixteen, 
and in 1890 it was about ten. The library of the 
monastery formerly contained a number of very valu- 
able manuscripts, but about the year 1844 the Kurds 
swooped down upon the monks, and pillaged and set 
fire to the buildings and murdered all who opposed 
them. The monks succeeded in removing about five 
hundred MSS to a vault or house on the side of a hill 
close by, but, unfortunately, a heavy flood of rain 
from the mountains swept both them and their hiding 
place away, and nothing more was seen of them. A 
large number of manuscripts also were destroyed by 
the Kurds, who cut and tore them up before the eyes 
of the monks, and who, having defiled the various 
portions of them, hurled them down into the stream 
which flows down from the mountain on one side of 
the monastery. There is, alas, but little worth steal- 
ing there now, even by a Kurd, but the Nestorians 
in the mountains are threatened with destruction by 
the marauding hill - tribes which rob and plunder 
unchecked by any. When I visited the monastery in 
1890 I made enquiries with the view of ascertaining 
if the monks ever made any attempt to sing or read 


the metrical Life of Rabban Hormizd of which I had 
seen a copy, and I found they had not, and that they 
had no knowledge of the past history of their house. 
Subsequently I asked Mr. Nimrud Rassam, with whom 
I visited the monastery, to make further enquiries on 
the subject, and the result of his researches are ex- 
pressed in a letter written in Syriac, of which I 
append the text with an English translation. This 
document is of considerable interest, for, leaving out 
of consideration the information which it contains, it 
illustrates the skill and facility with which educated 
Nestorians write Syriac at the present day. 

Letter from Mr. NimrtItd Rassam, H. B. M's Vice- 

CoNsuL AT Mosul. 

"Now therefore it hath appeared right and seemly 
"unto us that with an exact and true examination we 
"should make known and shew forth concerning the 
"generation of the holy man Rabban Hormizd, and 
"concerning his time, and concerning the customs 
"which are observed in his Monastery at this present 
"time, to all those who approach [the investigation 
"of] history. 

"Now after this [man] Rabban had been thoroughly 
"trained in the Holy Scriptures [in] the house of his 
"parents in Shiraz, and had arrived at the age of 
"twenty years, he made up his mind to die unto the 


"world in order that he might live unto Christ. And 
"he was directed by the protecting care of Divine 
"Providence, and arrived at and entered into the 
"Monastery of Rabban Bar- Idta, and he became a 
"monk therein for a space of nine and thirty years. 
"At this time a war broke out between Phocas, the 
"king of the Greeks, and Chosroes, the king of the 
"Persians, in the year of the Greeks nine hundred 
"and eighteen, which is the year six hundred and 
"seven of our Redeemer, according to that which the 
"History of Bar -'Idta sheweth us. Now Rabban Hor- 
"mizd was as yet in the Monastery of Rabban Bar- 
"'Idta. And after these things he departed [from that 
'^Monastery] in the company of six brethren to the 
''Monastery of Mar Abhraham, that is, the Monastery 
"of Risha, wherein he remained seven years. And 
"from here also, through a divine revelation, he de- 
"parted to the mountain of B^th 'Edhrai, and he 
"dwelt alone there in a cave on the eastern side of 
"Al-K6sh, the village of Nahum the Prophet. And 
"in Rabban H6rmizd was fulfilled the revelation which 
"came to Mir Mikha, one of the two and seventy 
"disciples of Mar Awgin who, before his death, when 
"he was comforting and encouragitig the people of 
"his village Al-Kosh, made a revelation unto them, 
"saying, 'God is about to send unto you a great and 
"'mighty eagle, and he shall make his nest in this 
"'your Mountain, and he shall beget many young 


'*ones;' and this thing actually came to pass, and 
*[the words were] fulfilled in Rabban Hormizd, the 
*holy man. In his lifetime he built his monastery, 
*and the brethren gathered together unto him, [and 
'became] his young ones. And his monastery was 
'consecrated by Mar Tiimarsa, the Catholicus and 
'Patriarch. And he remained in this monastery two 
'and twenty years, and Christ wrought by his hands 
'mighty deeds and miracles ; and, after his death, in 
'like manner also very many healings were performed 
'for the sick folk who thronged to his monastery, 
'and who took refuge in faith in the place w^here his 
'bones were laid, and from that time onwards, year 
'by year, the believing folk gathered together from 
'out of all the hamlets, and villages, and cities, and 
'kept a festival in his honour, with watching and 
'prayer, and with great rejoicing, on the second day 
'of the third week [after] the Festival of the Resur- 
'rection ; and they kept another festival of comme- 
'moration on the first day of Ilol, and they performed 
'in full the service of prayer according to the special 
'order of service which had been duly drawn up for 
'his commemoration. And afterwards, little by little, 
'certain other hymns {or, versicles) were added unto 
'the order of service which had been set apart for 
'him, by Mar 'Amanu'il (Emmanuel), the Metropolitan 
'of Beth Garmai, and Mar Sargis (Sergius) of Adhor- 
'baijan, and Mar Isho'-yahbh of Arbil, and George 


"Warda, and Rabban Adham of 'Akra. And the be- 
* Sieving men prayed according to this order of service, 
**and they kept the watch of his festival and also of 
"his commemoration in his monastery, and in all the 
"churches in the country round about, until the time 
"of the Patriarch Mar Awdu, when the East began 
"to perform service to the West. From this time for- 
"ward the vigil of Rabban H6rmizd began to be dis- 
"continued and to pass into oblivion, and his festival 
"languished, and his possessions diminished. And as 
"regards his children, they first of all changed garden 
"grapes into wild grapes, and among them were those 
"who clave to him with their lips, but who cursed him 
"in their hearts, and there were some who esteemed 
"the honour of their spiritual father as nakedness, 
"and who treated him lightly ; and if a man were to 
"liken them unto those of the sons of Ham [sic] [who 
"mocked their father] they would not be in any way 
"worthy of blame, and the understanding of every 
"rational being must condemn these men who were 
"afflicted with [such] lasting levity. And his sons did 
"not keep in remembrance the words of the wise man 
"who proclaimed, saying, *The honour of a man is 
"the honour of his father', and they did not even 
"dare to keep in remembrance the title of Rabban 
"Hormizd, for instead of 'Rabban', they gave him 
"the title of 'Sahda' (/. ^., Martyr), for which there are 
"no grounds whatsoever in the world, inasmuch as 


*no man hath either seen or heard that there was a 
^martyr of this name ; and mixing words and stringing 
'phrases together they changed the name *H6rmizd' 
'into *Adhor Hormizd', and transformed 'Rabban' in- 
*to 'SahdS,', and thus they taught [concerning him]. 
*And the dwellers in his monastery abandoned the 
'order of his service of prayer and vigil, and the 
'monks of his house pray the prayer of commemoration 
'for Mar Pethion, and Adhor Hormizd, and Anahidh, 
'and in this way, little by little, the monks and all 
'the believing men of country districts and of cities 
'have brought to an end his vigil and commemora- 
*tion in our own time. These things are sufficient to 
'make manifest the truth which hath been asked for, 
'and the lengthy matters which would give labour 
'[to me to write and thee to read] are [here] made 
'very short. Since therefore we have made known 
'that sufficient [hath been said] about these things, 
'let us incline the ear and hearken unto the narrative 
'of the History of Rabban Hormizd. 

Your humble friend 

Nemr6d Rassam, 

Written at M3.wsel, on 

the XXIInd of Khaztrin, 

in the year MDCCCCI of our Lord. 


QoAf^C ftuttSlf^ 1&UB0:99 f^iftCKL39 C^isAsO f^lftlX. f<SaMll 

c^cD ^ia coisoo^ja ^iT^nimmo:! r^^^ A^o coi3\ A^c 

.liao .rcV»tTTn\ rc&jJ.l A\*n r<saLA ^osoil cnii^.ta >fiP 
•.^jc^c ^^^ rtSlz^l f^j^oo ft;.iMjb* coa r^ococ .f^^.i^ 

^1 ca=>i:i f^ocD coiftia Aa^i.!^ iVasniocn ^i ocdo .f^i^.i^ 
f^ixz* rdijf^ iuoia coi >lx. ^i ^cd lixa .1^1^.1^ ia 

coi >lx. f<*cn\f^ rr^li\\^ .na ao^ rc^iCD p9C .coa i&\^ 
•111 Kl&iBO »i90 rtlZft.Tn\ f^ocm rtlui^ >i9oi\z.r^ .iVasoiocD 


rtSlAciui f^^isOO^ »T:99 p9 CoisnO^^f^O .»CDa^^l& 
.1^ *.^^1^0 ^iflO^ ft^ilT. ftllCD f^isnO^A li\&C .QCU^ift^S^ 

Af^ .sc^ ^CDO .(^(^o^f^o filial $cooSurCs r^k»xi:sn i^uio 

*.rt&joi3 f^.irtl^ coi ^.*in^o rt^L'jQVcKLsa ^ULlA^oo f^iulj».T:no 
rellL.i rtsxiSk^ rt\^^ r^^sssm^hx ^iii\^ .1^ .AoLr^.! 

^cnl^ao iuA coiftia cnii^ccio oxirc^i r^ioaz.c r^&xzsaz.^ 
.SUtoCL^ »T.9Q (<:^iftl!^l coiavk r^99.i^ .oculOo.! f^^T^ 


*.f<nn>*n.i (<aa&M> iObpoX »CDOia ^cii^ rcAc .Ai\ryii c^oco 

cQs > .f^icofiD iuf^i .\ ■yiT.c f^u> 1*^ •xif^ c^o .f<an\\^ 

\CDT?yiciv.i »CDOi»i QnnT. ODlcnubO cd^oI ^i rdaa^^o .^i&i^a 

caii^oia col cox* \ii\=> lixa ^coc .coiftii iti^Mjb* ^^sn 
Qcuiooi f<i3aftCKL39 _ ocn iAc ft; VI _ coc a '.^laia a\\y-> 

iuf^l p9 Atvxi .^iifiQ& f^iui&a rcdso^ AuXxaen r^ix^lc^o 


1^ .IVasniOCD ^1 



U90 . aMna?yi 


Passing now to the Life of Bar-'Idta, of which the 
Syriac text and an English translation thereof are 
given in the present work, it may be noted that it 
supplies a great deal of information which is new 
about the ecclesiastical geography of the province of 
Marga. The manuscript from which the Syriac text 
was copied was in a good state of preservation, and 
was written in the Xllth or Xlllth century ; its pos- 
sessor valued it very highly, but at his death his 
library was scattered and the whereabouts of many 
manuscripts have not been traced. The Life was writ- 
ten by Abraham, a priest, at the command of 'Abhd- 
Isho^ Metropolitan of Adiabene, and is based upon 
that which was written by Mar John, a disciple of 
Bar-ldta, who flourished about A. D. 660. From it 
we learn that Bar-'Idta was born at Raspa, or Ru- 
sapa, a village on the Euphrates ; his parents were 
Christians, but dying when their son was a child the 
boy was brought up by his sister Hanah-lsho', who 
was ten years older than he was, and who was a 
very religious and charitable woman. She first went 
to Nisibis, where she put her brother to school, and 
then became a nun in one of the convents in the 
neighbourhood. Bar-'Idta learned to read and write 
easily, and a fine memory enabled him to learn the 
Psalms and several other metrical compositions by 
heart ; he became a monk at the age of twenty- 
three and lived with the brethren under Mar Abra- 


ham, who seems to have succeeded Narses as head 
of the College of Nisibis about A. D. 508. Bar-ldta 
possessed a fine voice, and was very popular among 
his brethren, and when it was his turn to read the 
service "his voice would drive away sleep from their 
eyes'*. When he had remained for thirty years at 
Nisibis, he was moved to go forth to the province 
of Marga, where he founded his famous monastery, 
A. Gr. 873 = A. D. 562. His monks were at first ten 
in number, but subsequently they became very nu- 
merous ; he worked many miracles and was greatly 
beloved by all who came in contact with him. He 
was born about A. D. 509, and died about A. D. 612, 
aged one hundred and three years. 

The contrast between the lives of Hormizd and 
Bar-*Idta is very striking, and the Syriac texts prove 
that whilst the latter was well educated, from a Nes- 
torian point of view, and tolerant and gracious in 
his dealings with men, the latter was a man of strictly 
limited intellectual attainments, but endowed to the 
full with all the religious enthusiasm and mysticism 
which are characteristic of a deeply spiritual nature 
that has been developed by excessive fasting and 
prayer, and by the abstinence, and self-denial, and 
nakedness, and voluntary poverty which were inse- 
parably connected with the stern rigour of a solitary 
life in the mountains. The biographers of Hormizd 
and Bar-'Idta have described the lives of their masters 


with both affection and care, and, though they nar- 
rate in connexion therewith a number of facts which 
can only have existed in their imaginations, they have 
left behind them valuable records of two of the most 
remarkable Nestorians who ever lived. 



August 15 th, 1902. 



I. The Life of Rabban H6RMizD. 

Chapter I. The Author's Preface, a discourse on 


Chapter II. concerning the birthplace of rabban 


Chapter III. concerning his arrival m mAwsel (mAwsil, 


Chapter IV, concerning his arrival at the monas- 
DEVILS 19— 3l 

Chapter V. on the restoration to life of the young 


Chapter VI. concerning the cures wrought by RAB- 






Chapter VIL how rabban h6rm!zd turned water into 


Chapter VIII. how rabban H6RMizD went to the mon- 

Chapter IX. rabban h6rm1zd and the people of al- 


Chapter X. the story of the murder of the harlot of 


Chapter XI. how snAintN the son of the governor of 



Chapter XII. the story of the miracle AVHICH he 

ernor and his son 104—106 

Chapter XIII. how rabban shi:\vf<:d to mkn 





Chapter XIV. how the monks of bezk^n went to the 

BEZKIN 109— Il3 

Chapter XV. the story of the destruction of the MON- 


Chapter XVI. how the building of the monastery of 


Chapter XVII. how the worship of idols grew and 


Chapter XVIII. how TtrMARsA ii. the patriarch and ca- 


Chapter XIX. how kh6dAhw! gave a gift of money 


Chapter XX. how twenty JACOBITES were drowned IN 

OF PlTHt6N 134— 138 

Chapter XXI. how rabban w^ent to the monastery of 

mAr MATTAI and destroyed the books OF JACOBITE DOC- 

trine contained therein i38— 141 


.^ ^— -.-p. -w- PAGE 

Chapter XXII. how RABBAN triumphed over IGNATIUS 

Chapter XXIII. how ignatius came to the governor 


Chapter XXIV. the last avords of rabban hOrmIzd, 


11. The Life of Rabban Bar-Idta. 











GR. 873 191 









mAr MATTAI 2o3 



RUKH 208 




















THE DAYS OF PATRIARCH 1sh6*-YAHBH I. A. D. 580-595 ... 227 

'ABHfe 232 









xxvni. devils appear to rabban through the agency of 

zakhAi 244 







xxxv. rabban heals a dropsical woman 260 

xxxvi. the story of the jewish tailor who became con- 
verted to nestorianism 261 

xxxvii. rabban causes a woman to have three sons . . . 262 
xxxviii. the story of job of the village of beth kar- 

tEwAyA 263 

xxxix. the story of emmanuel the deacon and the lust- 
ful woman 265 

xl. how the step -mother of gaws-lshd' tried to 

poison him 267 

xli. the story of the woman who was possessed of a 

DEVIL 268 


MAN 270 

xliii. rabban drives a devil out from a bride 27 1 

xliv. rabban drives a devil out from a woman of bar- 

shirA 273 

• xlv. rabban stays a plague among the sheep 273 





















GOUT 289 


DEATH 291 






COLOPHONS 1-4 304 








[Page 3] 25y Zijy power, <I> our ILor& 3^fu6 €l)vi% we write Foi. i a 
ttK /)iflory of tl^e bivint labour^/ anb of tt^e mart)eUou6 
acte^ of ^abban Wl3r /)drmt5&/ tt^e anchorite anb tlyc fol&ier 
of rigt^teouonefe, wt^ic^ wae compofe& by t^e pioue man of 
(Sob, Jlabban trrSr ©imon, tt^e Mectple of ^abba tTT^r 
3?05aM7af. tTTay t^ie prayer t^elp ue! 2Jmen, 

Chapter I. 

Xt^e 2Jutt7or'6 Preface. 

The gardener who hath many storehouses of plants 
in the ground [setteth forth in his garden] the plants 
which are beautiful to the sight and delightful to look 

' A summary of the chief facts in the life of Rabban Hormizd will 
be found in my £ook of Governors, vol. i, p. CLVII ff. (London 1893). 

^ Besides the poetical life of Rabban Hormizd which is given in 
English at the end of this volume, a poem was composed in his hon- 
our by *Ammanuer, Bishop of Beth Garmai (who died A. D. 1080). 
The text has been published by Gabriel Cardahi, Liher Thesauri de 
arte poetica Syrorumy p. 142 (Rome 1875), and a German translation of 
it by Prof. G. Hoffmann is in his Auszuge aus Syrtschen Akten Persischer 
Mdrtyrer, p. 19. It is rightly described by this scholar as "eine ebenso 
freche wie plumpe Falschung der Stiftungsgeschichte" (see p. 180). 
Cardahi also published in his work, an encomium on Rabban Hormizd 
by Adham of 'Aqra in Marga, see also Duval, La Littirature Syriaque 
(being vol. 11 of Anciennes Literatures Chretiennes, Paris 1899), p. 217. 
For the small hymn and encomium on Rabban Hormizd by Mar Abha 
and Sabhr-tsho* see Assemani, B. O., III. i, p. 284, Nos. VI and IX. 

3 Pers. >}^j^i Chaldee ranln. 



Upon ; and it is meet that every man should look with 
the eye of understanding upon the beautiful things 
[written in this book] which appeal to the reason, 
that is to say, the struggles of the contending[s] of 
Foi. I b the perfect men and | of the divine athletes who have 
for generation after generation triumphed gloriously, 
and who have become a light in the earth, and a 
mirror in the inhabited world. And from them he 
should draw, as from a fountain from which divine 
beauties flow in overwhelming abundance, the spiritual 
excellences, even in the smallest measure, which will 
nourish b6th the body and the soul. Then shall he 
be "like unto the tree which is planted by the water- 
brooks,' whereof the fruit is meet for food, and the 
leaves for healing",' and in this wise shall the things 
which are spoken of assume visible forms unto him, 
and they shall be found to be possessions which can 
indeed be acquired, and the soul shall long for them 
with fervent love, and they shall incite those who be- 
hold them to desire them with an exceedingly great 
desire. For the keeping in remembrance of the histo- 
ries of men who have led lives of ascetic excellence 
is merchandize of no small [value], provided that they 
have been handed down in tradition by those who are 
well ac(iuainted with them, and who believe in them.-^ 
Now the keeping in remembrance of the histories which 
carry edification* with them [Page 4] moves the soul to 

' Ps. I. 3. 

2 Rev. XXII. 2. 

^ Literally, "when in faith they are handed on*'. 
"* /. e., which edify tlieir readers from an ascetic point of view. In 
this work r^0\O10U5fl usually means ascetic excellence. 


the memory of works of excellence, provided that his- 
tories of the kind which I shall now narrate have 
been set down in writing, for unless they be written 
down it is impossible that [any] benefit shall flow from 
them unto those who hearken unto them. Moreover, 
the lapse of time,' and the forgetfulness | of the mat- Foi. 2d 
ters ^ thereof, I mean to say old age, and death, which 
itself doth make histories which give edification to pass 
away, obscure and take away from the mind the power 
to hold them in remembrance. Now it is a great gift 
for a man to be strenuous in setting down in writing 
the divine deeds and conversations^ of holy men, be- 
cause then they can never be delivered over unto 
error and oblivion,* and because the acts and deeds 
which our holy fathers performed in the course of their 
sojourning in this world were fair and beautiful, and 
because it is for the benefit of the Church of Christ 
that the victories of the mighty men who have fought 
in wars of the spirit and understanding should be 
written down. And moreover, we must not omit to 
write down the accounts of the acts, and deeds, and 
lives of those men who, whilst living in a mortal and 
passible body, made manifest impassibility; and who, 
though possessing a nature which was prone to error 
and which had been formed by the waters of pas- 
sions, strove to emulate the acts, and deeds, and lives 
of divine beings. For if we were to hide the glorious 

^ Literally, "in the length of time". 

^ /. e,f the things which happen during the lapse of many years. 
* f^iaCCI means everything which concerns the habits, dress, con- 
versation, and rules of the monastic life. 
^ L e,f the state of being forgotten. 


triumphs of this holy father, this blessed man Rabban 
M^r H6rmizd, we should merit punishment from his 
Lord, and he to whom the keeping in remembrance 
of his marvellous contents, and the honouring of the 
Foi 2 b divine labours of this | strenuous athlete of Christ, 
by setting them down in writing, would be bound by 
a curse. And the humility of the blessed man, and the 
sureness of his faith, and the true light of his soul, 
which illumineth the understanding and enableth it, by 
means of the mystery of its hidden nature to gaze 
upon the things which are hidden and cannot be 
examined into, these things, I say, by reason of the 
excellence' of his divine labours, yield in season and 
out of season the sweet nourishment of the light 
which is beyond compare. And the place of his en- 
joyment is in that of the hosts of light, the children 
of the Palace of the innermost Holy of Holies, wherein 
[Page 5] we ascribe holiness to the Most High in the 
form of the Trinity, Who is eternally hidden from the 
generations and peoples of the children of men. Who 
is Very Light of Very Light, and Who is beyond the 
seasons of Time and the divisions thereof. But He 
revealed Himself in the flesh in the last times, with 
a body and with a soul, and He made both celestial 
and terrestrial beings to marvel [thereat] and to be 
stupefied with amazement ; and by His submissive 
obedience and by His humility He exalted our con- 
temptible dust to the mighty height of the honour of 
His Majesty. He is the Self- existent and hidden Be- 
ing, Who is eternally and everlastingly self-existent, 

^ Literally, "prosperity". 


and no limit can be ascribed' unto His self-existence 
by living beings, that is to say, by those who belong 
to the Nine Classes of Angels," | and by those who FoI. 3 a 
belong to the race of terrestrial^ beings. Now, when 
by reason of His love towards us [our] Physician 
wished to give life unto our deadness,* and to direct 
aright our course of error, and to lighten our dark- 
ness. He arrayed Himself in the garb of humility, 
and gave life unto the deadness of our race through 
the Man Jesus Christ. And through His life-giving 
commandments He guided us into the path of light 
of His glorious mansions, saying, "Take My yoke 
"upon you, and learn of Me, for I am lowly and 
"humble in My heart, and ye shall find rest for your 
"souls; for My yoke is pleasant, and My burden is 
"light ;"^ and, "on whom shall I look, and in whom 
"shall I dwell, except the lowly and humble man who 
"trembleth at My word?"^ For humility and lowliness 
are the armour against all evil spirits, and this our 

^ The general meaning is that God is independent of all consi- 
derations of time and that neither aeons nor moments can be em- 
ployed in formulating the length or duration of His existence. 

^ The Angels consist of Nine Classes and three orders, upper, 
middle, and lower. The upper order is composed of Cherubim, 
Seraphim, and Thrones; these are called ''priests'*, "chief priests", 
and "bearers of God's throne". The middle order is composed of 
Lords^ Powers, and Rulers, and the lower order consists of Princi- 
palities, Archangels, and Angels. A description of the functions of 
these nine classes is given by Solomon of al-Basra: see my Book 
of the Bee, p. 9. 

^ Literally, "inferior race". 

* Or, to vivify our mortality. 

' See St. Matthew XI. 29, 3o. 

6 Isaiah LXVI. 2. 


Lord depicted in His own Person. He took a napkin, 
He girded it about His loins, and He began to wash 
the feet of His disciples, and to wipe [them] with 
the napkin which was girded about His loins; thus 
did that lofty and exalted Prince abase Himself, and 
the Lord of the Rulers and Governors * who were in 
the heavens bent and brought down to this state of 
Foi. 3 b abasement His exalted head ; | by the stripping of the 
body of His manhood He exposed Himself unto the 
Rulers and Governors, and He put them to shame in 
His own Person openly, [as if He would say] *'For 
"I have given this example unto you, [Page 6] so that 
"ye may do [unto others] even as I have done unto 
"you, for there is no servant who is greater than his 
"lord, and no apostle who is greater than he that 
"sent him; and through this armour of humility ye 
"shall subdue all rebellious strongholds," according to 
the word of the Gospel of the divine Paul, who 
saith, "The armour of our service^ is not of the flesh, 
"but of the power of God, and therewith we shall 
"subdue rebellious strongholds, and overthrow^ evil 
"thoughts and every high thing which shall be raised 
"up against the knowledge of God."* And the holy 
Apostle saith, ^ "Who shall separate me from the love 
"of God which is in our Lord Jesus Christ? [Shall] 
"tribulation, or persecution, or imprisonment, or fa- 
"mine, or nakedness, or danger, or the sword? As 

' I, e.f two of the Nine Classes of the Angels, 

2 Or, "fighting". 

^ /. £,, throw down and cover over, 

* 2 Corinthians X, 4, 5. 

^ Romans VIII. 35 — 39. 


"it is written, For thy sake we die every day, and 
"we are accounted as sheep for food;* but in all 
"these things we gain the victory through Him that 
"hath loved us. | For I am persuaded, that neither Foi. 4 ti 
"death, nor life, nor Angels, nor Principalities, nor 
"Powers,^ nor things which now exist or shall come 
"into being, nor height, nor depth, nor any other crea- 
"ture, shall be able to separate me from the love of 
"God which is in our Lord Jesus Christ." This is the 
glorious and excellent offspring of humiliation, and 
ye must know that it is by this selfsame power of 
humility that ye shall be able to gird up [your] loins 
and your divine souls: and by it ye shall be able to 
gird up your pure souls in such wise that they may 
become fountains of the humility which breatheth forth 
the odour of the glorious marriage of the Son of the 
heavenly King, the Lord of the marriage feast. And 
moreover, by the oil of loving-kindness the lamps of 
your understandings shall burn brightly, and ye shall 
become the sons of your Father which is in heaven, 
and children of the inheritance of Jesus Christ. What 
shall we say then? The Gentiles who never followed^ 
after the Law [Page 7] have attained * unto the law of 
righteousness, but [the children of] Israel, who were 
wont to follow after righteousness, never attained unto 
the righteousness which cometh of faith,^ | for theyFoi.46 
sought to establish the righteousness which cometh of 

I Psalm XLIV. 22. 

^ /. e,, three of the Nine Classes of the Angels. 

^ Literally, *'ran after". 

* Literally, "overtaken". 

* Or, belief. 


the Law ; and they did not desire to make themselves 
righteous by the faith of Christ but by the works of 
the Law which could be made manifest, and thereby 
they stumbled grievously ' and fell with a fall which 
knew no rising up. For who can stand against the 
things which are wrought by God? Or peradventure, 
shall the thing which hath been fashioned say unto 
Him that fashioned it, "Thou hast not fashioned me 
well?" Or [shall it say], "The potter hath no power 
over his clay, wherefrom he may fashion some [ves- 
sels] for honour, and others for dishonour?*'^ 

Now therefore it is the custom of the Divine Book 
to make mention of the country, and race, and fa- 
mily of the perfect and righteous children of men 
who in all generations have fulfilled the righteous- 
ness of God, even as in the case of Jeremiah the 
prophet it saith, "When as yet I had not formed thee 
"in the womb I knew thee, and before thou hadst 
"gone forth from the belly I sanctified thee, and set 
"thee [to be] a prophet to the nations."^ And thus 
also was it in the case of the selection of the bless- 
ed man Abraham, concerning which Moses the pro- 
phet relateth, [saying], "And the Lord said unto 
"Abram, Get thee out from the land in which thou 
"wast born, and from thy father's house, into a coun- 
"try which I will shew thee; and I will make thee 
"a great nation, and I will bless and magnify thy 

' Literally, "they were tripped up and fell with a fall which was 
without rising". 

^ Romans IX. 20, 21. 
^ Jeremiah I. 5. 


"name." ^ And our Lord, in His holy | Gospel saith Foi. 5 a 
unto His blessed Apostles, ''Behold, have I not chosen 
"you before the foundations of the world were laid?"^ 
And that the Lord knoweth those that are His the 
Divine Book maketh us to know, and the Apostle Paul 
saith, "Those whom He hath called He sanctifieth, and 
"those whom He hath sanctified He praiseth, and those 
"whom He hath praised He justifieth."^ 

Now, wonder hath laid hold upon me at this athlete 
and glorious* soldier, this most prosperous merchant,^ 
[Page 8] concerning whose glorious attributes it is laid 
upon [my] words to tell the story, and upon [my] writ- 
ten letters the depicting of his life, and acts, and 
deeds. And that ye may become heirs of his divine 
labours ye have commanded me, O chosen brethren 
of God and habitations of the Holy Ghost, to des- 
cend into the depths of this intellectual sea and to 
bring up to you therefrom the pearl which is adorned 
with all manner of beauties, that is to say, the his- 
tory of the athlete of our victorious King, the fame 
of whose triumphs shall be proclaimed throughout cre- 
ation among all the generations of the world, whom 
God made to triumph, and whose memorial God hath 
magnified in His Church for ever. 

' Genesis XII. i, 2. 

^ Ephesians I. 4. 

^ Romans VIII. 3o. 

* Literally, "without shame". 

^ *<\ a\'^\JI^ = xpaYfi.aTSU'ni^;, and the idea which the writer 
wishes to convey is that Rabban Hormizd was a very busy, and 
strenuous, and prosperous merchant who trafficked in spiritual wares 
of all kinds. 


Foi. 56 Now* Scripture mentioneth the place of his | habi- 
tation, and saith, "There was a man in the land of 
"Uz whose name was Job,- and he was an upright 
"and a righteous man, and a fearer of God, and one 
"who had turned aside from evil." And moreover, 
concerning Samuel, [it is manifest] that he was a 
righteous man, and one worthy of keeping in remem- 
brance, and the Book saith, "There was a certain 
"man of Rametha dhe-Dhawke,^ of the Mount of 
"Ephraim, whose name was HalkS,na [Elkanah*]". We 
therefore also desire to speak concerning the life, and 
acts, and deeds, of a man who was renowned for his 
divine triumphs, not merely as such, but because they 
were wrought [as a result] of the gift of the grace 
of our Lord. For who is able to tell concerning [all] 
the triumphs of him that was arrayed in heavenly 
victory? [What any man can tell is nothing more in 
proportion] than is the bucketful of water [in com- 
parison to] the sea. And moreover, we must declare 
concerning his country, and his city, and his nurture 
in the fear of God, and the beginning of his dis- 
cipleship, and his life of sorrow, and his living in the 
monastery,^ and his life and habitation in the moun- 
tains, and rocks, and caves of the earth; and also 

^ Some lines appear to be omitted from the text here, for the nar- 
rative does not run consecutively ; we should expect Job and Samuel 
to be mentioned above with Jeremiah and Abraham. 

^ See Job I. i. 

3 The LXX has I; 'Apixaeatpi lit^a, and the Hebrew D^BIX O^na-ri-lb. 

* I Samuel I. i. 

^ /. e., the hard life which he led as a coenobite, even before he 
went out to live alone. 


concerning his fasting, and his strict abstinence, and 
his poverty in dress, and his abnegation, and his as- 
ceticism, and his goodness to strangers; and concern- 
ing the spiritual endowments [Page g] and gifts which 
Christ bestowed upon him because of his divine la- 
bours ; and concerning the | great and mighty signs Foi. 6 a 
and deeds of wonder which Christ wrought by his 
hands; and concerning the exalted gifts of prophecy 
and of the knowledge of events before they happened 
which were granted unto him by the mercy of God. 
And when, by the help of God, and by the prayers 
of the blessed man, we draw nigh unto the conclu- 
sion of his strife and course, we will make an end 
of [this] history which is full of victory and divine 

Chapter II. 
Concerning l)i6 family axi^ native country, w^ic^ wae ©l^trfis. 

Now the family of the blessed man Rabban Hor- 
mizd [came] from the country of the Huzaye,' and 
belonged to the city of Beth Lafat,^ that is to say, 
Shiraz;^ and the parents of the blessed man were 

^ /. ^,, Khuzistan, a mountainous country which lies to the north 
of the Persian Gulf. 

^ Beth Lafat, the tDfcb ^3 of the Talmud (see Hoffmann, Auszuge^ 
p. 41), the -JTOAi; BTiXaTuaTwv of Procopius, and the LU^ (wrongly for 
>li^^o) of Yakut (see Noeldeke, Geschichte der Perser, p. 41). It lay 
between Susa Shushtar, and has been identified with the city of Sha- 
habadh now in ruins : according to Noeldeke the name means "the 
park of Bel" (Bel-abadh). 

^ Shiraz lies in a high plain or valley about 20 miles long and 
10 miles broad, and is, by road, about 165 miles from the modern 


Christians, and were firm in the faith. As concerning 
the riches of [this] world, which passeth away and 
shall be dissolved, they were exceedingly well pro- 
vided, and men servants, and maid servants stood 
before them and ministered unto them with reverence. 
And his parents performed the service of angels with 
fasting and with prayer, and they relieved the wants 
of the poor and needy, and of those who were in 
misery, and they visited those who were in tribula- 
tion. Now the name of his father was Joseph, and 
that of his mother was Thekla. And when the child 
Foi. 6 b had arrived at the age of twelve years | they took 
him to school that he might learn the Psalms and be 
trained in spiritual doctrine, and when he had re- 
mained there learning for six years he could repeat 
by heart ' the Psalms and the New Testament, in 
which books the young man laboured both by night 
and by day. Now when he had completed the years 
of his life in that place, and was about twenty years 
old, there began to stir in him the natural motions 
of the fear of God which were established in the na- 
ture of our constitution by God, the Creator of our 
nature [Page lo], and these warm desires rose up in 
him so frequently- that he was always saying to his 
parents, **I will become a monk, and I will prepare 
**myself with gladness to serve the Lord according to 
**His will." With this thought of the fear of God, and 

city of Bushire near the head of the Persian Gulf. Descriptions of 
the modern city will be found in the works of Pietro della Valle, 
Herbert, Chardin, Ouseley, Ker Porter, Morier and others. 

' Literally, **by the mouth". 

2 The words |CDOci»f<\ f<!l&CD. 


with this righteous meditation his heart burned with 
divine fire both by night and by day, and he was 
anxiously desiring and awaiting the time when he 
might receive the garb of a monk.* But our Lord 
knew the mind of the young man, and what was be- 
fitting the honour of His service, and the use and 
wont of the household of His Lordship. And when 
deep sleep had fallen upon men, and as the young 
man | was lying upon his bed in the bed-chamber of Foi. 7 a 
his parents' house, and was sunk deeply in sound 
slumber, a vision appeared unto him from our Lord, 
Who was sitting upon the throne of the glory of 
His honour, and the heavenly hosts were standing 
before Him, and were ascribing holiness to the ma- 
jesty of His appearance. And as soon as the motions 
of the soul of the young man had been united by the 
sweetness of the vision which had [burst] upon him, and 
by the unparalleled wonder of the sight of the spiritual 
beings in their natural state, the King of praise gave 
the command, and one of those spiritual beings who 
were standing before the King Christ flew and stood 
before him. And he answered and said unto the young 
man, "Man, why standest thou in a country which is 
'*not thine, and which belongeth to the country of the 
"beings of the spirit?" Then the young man answered 
and said unto the spiritual being, **Because a power 
**over which I had no control took me from my own 
"country, and set me down here; but do no harm 
"unto me, I beseech thee." And the spiritual being 
answered and said unto him, "Fear thou not, O son 

I Literally, "this garb''. 


"of man, for it was I who appeared unto thee to lead 
**thee unto this country and not to do thee any harm; 
"and as for what thou sayest [*Harm me not'], I have 
"done thee no harm up to this present." Now whilst 
the spiritual being and the young man were holding 
Foi. 7 b converse together, suddenly | there appeared in the 
right hand of the spiritual being a splendid and glor- 
ious crown [Page ii] of fine * gold. And the spiritual 
being answered and said unto the young man, "Be- 
"hold, O young man, [how] beautiful in its appearance 
"is this crown which I hold in my right hand ! If thou 
"wishest it to be thine I will give it unto thee. If thou 
"possessest spiritual wings like unto mine, take [it], 
"and it shall be thine." And the young man answered 
and said unto him, "Then give it unto me, master" ; 
and straightway the angel placed the crown on the 
head of the young man, whereupon the crown began 
immediately to shine upon his head, and it gave forth 
splendour, and the spiritual being flew away. And the 
young man forthwith woke up from his sleep and 
came to himself, and his thought remained with 
him,- and he straightway understood^ within himself 
in a hidden manner what the grace of our Lord had 
wrought for him. And the fire of his love of Christ 
burned within the motions of his soul in a hidden 
manner, but he did not reveal unto flesh and blood 
the heavenly vision which had been revealed unto 
him by the mercy of Christ, and he bore [the know- 
ledge] thereof in the secret chambers of his soul. 

' Literally, **chosen". 

* Literally, "his mind remained upon him". 

^ Literally, "he learned*'. 


Then the young man determined* to go to Jerusa- 
lem and to pray | in the holy places wherein Christ Foi. 8 a 
had wrought His mighty works, and wherein He had 
gone about in the dispensation of His adorable Man- 
hood; and from there he wished to depart into the 
Scete Desert* and to sojourn with the holy fathers 
who served God therein. And on a day he lifted up 
his feet from the house of his parents to depart unto 
the places which I have mentioned above, and having 
travelled on his journey for seven and thirty days^ 
he arrived at Mawsel,^ and came into the city thereof 
which is in the country of Nineveh. 

Chapter HI. 
<l>n \)vd avxival in maweel. 

And the young man came and took up his abode in 
one of the churches which were there, and the name 
thereof was Beth Hala,^ and by the Divine agency he 
found in that church [Page 12] three monks [who] were 

^ Literally, "laid [it] in his mind". 

^ Hormizd wished to follow the example of many great ascetics 
who began their careers by making pilgrimages to Jerusalem, the 
Jordan, Sinai, Mount Horeb, and the Scete Desert. 

^ The distance from Shiraz to Mawsel is about 900 miles, and 
he therefore travelled nearly 25 miles a day. 

* /. e,y Al-Mawsil, J^^\, the famous town on the left bank 
of the Tigris opposite to the mound called Kuyunjik, which marks 
part of the site of the ancient city of Nineveh. A list of works 
wherein the city is described will be found in my Book of GovernorSy 
vol. II. p. 259 (London 1893). 

^ I,e.t Beth Hale, Arab. "^l^b. See Assemanf, B, O,, III. i. p. 155, 
col. 2, 1. 9. 



from the Monastery of Saint Rabban Bar-'Idta.' One 
[was] Abba Ya'kob (Jacob) from Kafr Zamre,' [another 
was] John Shamrahaya,^ and [the third was] Hanan Isho' 
Hadhayabhaya,'* [and they were] holy men and mas- 
ters of the life of contemplation of divine things ; and 
when the young man had been blessed by them he sat 
down before them. And suddenly divine fire shone upon 
the young man, and he became wholly on fire with the 
Foi. 8 b fire which nothing | resembleth. Now when those pious 
men who were looking on at the wonderful [sight] 
saw that the divine fire had enshrouded that young 
man in a secret manner, they were astonished with 
a great and mighty astonishment, and the three of 
them understood concerning the mysteries of the new 
world, and concerning his election for the service of 
the hidden life and conversation, and concerning the 
gifts [of healing] which should be wrought by his 
hands, and the mighty deeds, and wonders, and acts 
of might which should be performed through him. 
Then they were moved by the Holy Spirit and began 
to prophesy concerning him in a hidden manner, say- 
ing, **My son, thou art about to become a chosen 
"vessel unto Christ, and many shall become members 

^ He was a contemporary of Mar Babhai of Mount Izla, of Jacob 
of Beth *Abhe, and of Ish6*-Yahbh of Arzan, and flourished in the 
last half of the VI th century. 

^ Perhaps the same as jUj jJiS^ Kafr Zammar, a town on the 
Tigris near Mawsel. 

^ /. e., the man of Shamrah, a village at no great distance from 

* /. e., the man of Adiabene. This district included all the land 
which lay between the Great and Little Zabh rivers, and even Kur- 
distan, Hoffmann, Auszuge, p. 241, note 191 1. 


*of the household of our Lord through thee, and at 
*the uttering of thy name the devils shall flee, and 
*evil serpents which eject the venom of death at the 
'remembrance of a word of thin^e shall be at peace. 
*But our love [for thee] doth counsel thee to relin- 
*quish the journey upon which thou now art. Rise 
*up, now, that we may depart to our monastery, be- 
*cause our Lord hath revealed unto us the whole 
'matter of thy election by Him, and that thou art 
*meet for the honour of the membership of the house- 
'hold of His Lordship, and for the safe -keeping of 
'the treasures which, by His mercy, | shall be bestow- Foi. 9 a 
'ed upon thee in their season, and which, by His 
'grace and mercy, shall be in very deed perfected 
'with thee during thy temporary life and after thy 
'departure from this world. And the spiritual children 
'[Page 13] which shall be begotten by thee shall enjoy 
'happiness through thy gracious and pleasant gifts 
'in a spiritual manner, for thy spiritual house is about 
'to become in the earth the similitude of the celestial 
'Jerusalem which is the mother of the saints." 

Chapter IV. 

<l>n l)i0 avvvoal at tt)e tTTonaflevy of Habban 23av'*3&t3 

in tTTargd. 

Now therefore the righteous young man, like unto 
good ground which receiveth the seed, and yieldeth 
fruit thirtyfold, and sixtyfold, and an hundredfold, re- 
ceived with divine gladness the counsel of these holy 
old men, and straightway he set out with them from 



the city of Mawsel, and the four of them, together 
with their coenobite,^ who is worthy of remembrance 
for good, journeyed along the way together. And 
when they had arrived at the monastery and entered 
therein, that divine congregation received him with 
the gladness which was befitting the mark of his call- 
ing, as did also Rabban Mar Sabhr-tsh&', the head 
and ruler of that divine congregation. Now these 
men were in number two hundred and sixty-four souls, 
Foi. 9 b I and they were pious men, and vessels of grace, and 
men who were perfect in the practice of the glorious 
conversation of the monastic life,^ and they were de- 
picting in their persons the type of the denizens of 
heaven and of the mysteries of the new world; and 
these brethren received the young man with simple 
joy, and with lowly and unfeigned humility. And when 
the young man Hormizd had entered into the monas- 
tery^ he began to lead a new life and to perform the 
deeds which belonged unto the angels and to the 
service of heaven, after the manner of the just and 
righteous men who had made themselves strangers 
entirely to the world and unto all that is therein; for 
the blessed man desired by means of this merchan- 
dize of the spirit to please God with his good works, 
and he was fighting and contending that he might 
fashion in His image the inheritance of the kingdom 

^ /. e., a monk who lived with many monks in the common house 
of the society. 

2 Literally, the practice of the solidary life. 

^ I. £.f the general buildings of the monastery where the novices 
lived and monks who could not endure the hardships of life in soli- 
tary cells. 


of heaven. For he burned through and through [Page 14] 
with the affection of the love of Christ Who had chosen 
from the womb this lover of the works which were 
fair, even as [had chosen] the disciples who had pros- 
pered in their calling; and the purity, and integrity, 
and simplicity of the young man were greatly belov- 
ed by our Lord, and He answered him speedily and 
granted unto him his petitions. | 

Now, when he had laboured but a very few months FoI. 10 a 
in the community, the brethren brought him on a cer- 
tain First Day of the week before the place where the 
altar stood, after they had received the Holy Myste- 
ries, and Rabban Mar Sabhr-lsho' and his holy con- 
gregation laid [their] hand[s] upon him, and with 
prayers and psalms of the Holy Spirit shaved him,' 
even according to the word of our Lord, Who said 
in His Holy Gospel, ** Where two or three are gather- 
**ed together in My Name, there am I in their midst." ^ 
Now henceforth since he had newly received the garb 
of Christ, and had been changed from that state which 
belonged to the body into the state of joy of the 
mind, he became wholly another being,^ because the 

^ According to one office in use among the Nestorians the candi- 
date is brought to the "place of prayer" after fifty days' probation, 
and he is set upon a woollen tunic on the ground with his face to the 
East. Rabban says, "this tunic is the type of the grave and the 
world is already dead to thee", and then cuts off the hair from the 
top of his head, leaving a space like a "wheel and a crown", which 
he sprinkles with water, saying, "Christ will wash away the impurity 
of thy sins". See Assemani, B. O.y III. 2. p. 905. 

2 St. Matthew XVIII. 20. 

^ Literally, "he became one instead of another", t\ e., the writer 
means to say, that he became a man whose sole aim and object were 


fire of the love of our Lord, which our Lord cast 
into the world, was rising up in his mind, now it was 
that same love which had kindled and was burning 
up brightly in his heart. He laboured in the daytime 
with the community of the brethren, keeping a calm, 
and well-ordered, and prudent, and understanding 
mind, whereby he made his soul a house of the liv- 
ing God; but at eventide,* at sunset, when the monk 
Foi. 10 b struck the board ^ | [to summon] the brethren to after- 
supper prayers, he used to take a portion of the Obla- 
tion from the sacristan^ and pass his evenings fasting, 
with the exception of a handful of water wherein he 
placed the portion of the Oblation. In this manner he 
would endure fasting for the whole week until he re- 
ceived the Holy Mysteries on the First Day of the 
week, after which at a time that was late in the night* 
he would take food which consisted of nothing but 
bread, and water, and salt. Now, he possessed in his 
soul by nature a firm, simple, and unfeigned humility 
[Page 15] in a peculiar degree, and this humility was 
bestowed upon him by the Father of lights. And his 

to live the life of the spirit, and that his whole moral nature was 
entirely changed shortly after he had received the tonsure. 

' Literally, "at the season of evening, at the westernings of the 


2 The monks having no bells were assembled, when required by 
the Archimandrite for any reason whatsoever, by the beating of a 
thick plank of wood, or board, which was either suspended on a 
frame, or held up by various means above the shoulders of the man 
appointed to beat it. 

^ rC&Aln is the man who belonged to the rtl^ln, /. e,, y^o^r^, 
or apse of the church. 

* Literally, **deep evening". 


abstinence surpassed the measure and capacity of 
mortal man, and he wished not to bring nigh unto 
his lips anything whatsoever which the earth brought 
forth, or even the fruits of trees. Now he continued 
to lead this stern life of labour for seven years in the 
silence of understanding, and the whole congregation 
of the monks of that holy monastery, together with 
all those who were acquainted with him, ascribed 
unto him blessing upon blessing; and they meditated 
within themselves, saying, *'What will become of this 
young man?" And he made his soul to be the habi- 
tation I of every ascetic excellence, for he was chaste, Foi. n a 
and long-suffering, and wise, and a Gihon in intelli- 
gence,* and prudent, and of great discernment, and 
he possessed in his soul in a remarkable degree the 
power to understand the things of wisdom, and in 
his pure soul was an exceedingly great abundance 
of knowledge. Now these qualities of spiritual excel- 
lence are usually only found in very aged men, or 
in those who have lived a considerable time, for they 
are only acquired slowly and by degrees.^ 

And in the night, when his companions who lived 
within the monastery [with him] had given themselves 
up to a little rest in sleep, the blessed man used to 
rise up from among the brethren, and gird up his 
loins with a piece of twisted rope, and then go down 
to the furnace {or oven) of the community, and he 
would clean out the ashes therefrom with his own 

^ The Gihon river is usually identified with the Nile, and the 
writer wishes to indicate that the intelligence of Hdrmizd was as 
deep, and as full, and as abundant as the waters of that river. 

2 The word r^ must have dropped out of the text here. 


hands. Moreover, he devoted himself to the purifica- 
tion of the monastery, for with divine humility and 
with the lowly humbleness of understanding he used 
to clean out the latrines with his own hands for our 
Lord's sake; and he was most strenuous in caring 
for everything of which the mortal body had need, 
and in relieving the wants of his brethren.' Now whilst 
Foi. ii6 he was thus doing and ministering with the eye | of 
discernment of the fear of God, he devoted himself 
to service and ministrations of prayer before God, and 
he was always singing the sections of the Psalms, and 
hymns of praise, and ascribing glory unto God be- 
cause of all His gifts of grace [Page i6] to him. And 
our Lord saw his labour, and his love, and his af- 
fection for Him, and his watchfulness and strenuous- 
ness in the keeping of His life-giving commandments, 
and that he had adorned himself with all qualities of 
ascetic excellence, and especially with the whole adorn- 
ment of humility, which is the garb of Christ, Who giveth 
grace unto the humble, and, as it is said, "now unto 
the humble mysteries are revealed". Now the grace 
of our Lord began to shine in the intelligence of the 
righteous man gloriously and brilliantly, and He im- 
mediately opened before him His hidden treasures in 
his holy mind in a hidden manner, even as with the 
chosen young man Samuel, who was asked from God, 
and upon whom, by reason of his purity and simpli- 
city, was poured out the spirit of Christ. 

Now the young man was exposing the wiles and 

' /. e,, he performed the most menial services for the monks 
in the monastery. 


crafts of the rebellious devils, and he did not permit 

them to lay out their snares with secret guile before 

his simple companions | and fellow monks, but he ad- foI. 12 a 

monished them and made clear unto them the various 

devices of the cunning of the devils: And when his 

companions the coenobites saw the great gift which 

had been given unto him by the mercy of Christ they 

called him the "Physician of the coenobites". But 

when the old Enemy, the hater of the truth, saw the 

laudable deeds and life of perfection he was filled with 

envy of the holy man Abba Hormizd, and raged with 

furious wrath against him. And on a certain night, 

when he was continuing in vigil atid was alone in his 

prayer before our Lord, the devils rose up before 

him, and answered and said unto him, "O thou good 

*young man, Hormizd, wherefore dost thou drive us 

*away? In what thing have we offended against thee? 

*Shew us why thou dost persecute both us and thy- 

*self, and why war is directed by thee against us. 

*Unto me hath been delivered this world and all that 

'therein is. Thou art a young man [Page 17] and a 

'wise, but thou dost not comprehend' my sovereignty, 

'for thou art a young man who dost only discern the 

'things which ought to be.' If thou desirest I will 

'make thee to triumph over all the monks who live 

'in this region of the east, and thou shalt be more 

'glorious than all those who have triumphed | therein, foI. 12 h 

'and thy glory shall be greater than that of all the 

'men of old who have lived before thy time. And I 

' Literally, **thou art not sensible of". 
2 Or, "things which are seemly". 



*will shew thee my glory, even as I have shewn [it] 
'unto thy triumphant fathers, and I will fill thee with 
'*my spirit, and will reveal unto thee all my hidden 
'*things, and will teach thee all my secret things to 
*the uttermost of my will,* and thy glory shall have 
'overwhelming power before kings and governors. I 
*have many things which I can teach thee, the which 
*I desire now to hide from thee. Now if thou wilt 
'hearken unto me thou shalt live before me a life of 
'rest, and peace, and happiness ; but if thou dost re- 
'sist me, and dost set thyself in opposition to my 
'words, thy days shall be [passed] in tribulations with 
'me, and I will afflict thee greatly, and thou shalt 
'live in cruel sufferings with me. But be persuaded 
'[to obey] my words, and to receive the fair counsel 
'which I have spoken unto thee, O young man.'' 

Now up to this point the holy man had listened 
unto the Devil. Then the holy man repulsed the Devil, 
and said unto him, "Close thy mouth, O thou insolent 
"one, from [uttering] these words, O thou lying one 
"and father of falsehood, for Christ, my King, and 
"my God, and the Teacher of the truth, is sufficient 
Foi. i3^ "for me. By the venom of thy crafty doctrine | thou 
"slayest man; of what use to me is thy counsel, O 
"thou who wouldst destroy my life? I shall never be- 
"conie a participator in the impurity of thy wicked- 
"ness because Christ hath made me full of the love 
"of the holy love of Him that hath vanquished thee, 
"and hath made bare the wiles and crafts of thy 
"wickedness. And He hath given unto us feeble folk 

^ Literally, **in all the fulfilment of my will". 


**the power to tread under foot by His humility thy 
"head, provided that we keep His commandments with 
"strenuousness, and by His strong power He hath 
"made thee to be an object of disgrace and a thing 
"to be trodden upon by His friends. In the Name of 
"Jesus the Nazarene, cease from thy blasphemy, O 
"thou insolent one." Then Satan took to flight before 
the holy man at the utterance of the Name of Jesus 
the Nazarene, and as he was flying away through the 
air, being vanquished, [Page i8] he cried out, saying, 
"Can this follower of Nimrod' think in very truth that 
"he hath vanquished me? For little by little I will trip 
"him up in his exalted estate until I have brought him 
"down to the depth wherein there is no place to stand 
"upon,^ even as I have done unto many others who 
"were proud of and were perfect in the aff*ection of 
"thQ love of the Nazarene." And these words the 
Devil, being exceedingly angry,^ made the holy man 
to hear. 

And when the holy man saw the defeat of the 
Devil he was not lifted up | in his mind, but he gave Foi. i3 b 
thanks before our Lord with a humble heart, saying, 
"O our Lord Jesus, Thou Conquering King, Who by 
"Thy divine humility hast crushed the heads of this 
"evil Leviathan which can [only] be perceived by the 
"mind, Thou, O our Lord, didst bow for us Thy head 

^ The lexicons explain the name by f^:fOTSn "rebel", connecting 

it with the root rivsn ; it is possible that rtl.loiaoi may here mean 
**rebellious one". 

^ Literally, **I will bring him down by a fall from which there is 
no rising up'*. 

3 Literally, "bitter". 


*'upon the Cross, and thereby didst make to be bowed 
"low the head of Satan, our Enemy, and didst pluck 
"the victory which can never be taken away [from 
"Thee], and Thou didst say, *Fear ye not, but be of 
"good courage, for I have overcome the world',' Thou 
"in Thy grace hast given unto us Thy divine gift 
"whereby we may tread under foot serpents and scor- 
"pions, and the whole power of the Evil One." And 
moreover, our Lord promised His servants, and said 
unto them, "Go forth and teach and baptize all na- 
"tions in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, 
"and of the Holy Ghost.* Heal the sick, cleanse the 
"lepers, open the eyes of the blind, cast out devils, 
"and raise the dead to life. Ye shall speak with new 
"tongues, and ye shall lay your hands upon the sick 
"and they shall be healed, and even if ye drink poi- 
"son it shall not harm you."^ And in very truth the 
promises of our Lord unto His disciples have been 
fulfilled throughout all the generations of the world, 
Foi. 14 a and He hath raised up unto Himself | spiritual phy- 
sicians in His Church that they might be the salt 
which should salt the palates of those who had lost 
their taste, and the light which should illumine the 
hearts which had become darkened, and should direct 
and lead the children of men into the great and beauti- 
ful habitation of the spiritual beings. And after this 
manner even in that period [Page 19] of dryness and 
feebleness did He raise up this young man Hormizd, 

1 St. John XVI. 33. 

2 St. Matthew XXVIII. 19. 

3 St. Mark XVI. 17, 18. 


who renewed his strength by the Holy Spirit, and 
was distinguished ' and pre - eminent among the ste- 
wards of spiritual treasures, that he might give and 
distribute, without accepting the person of any man, 
the money of his Master unto his companions. 

Now, although Satan had been vanquished in this 
first contest, he neither remained quiet nor desisted 
from his tyrannical persecution [of the young man], 
but on another night, a second time, [all] the devils 
of all creation gathered themselves together with their 
princes and governors; and they were holding horns 
and trumpets which [produced] all kinds of sweet mu- 
sic; and they were arrayed in white garments which 
shone like lightning shooting forth splendour and glory; 
and they surrounded the young man on every side in a 
bold and insolent manner so that they might make him 
to desist from his prayer and conversation with God. 
But the mind of the young man, who was mighty in 
God, united the gaze of his understanding unto Him, 
and by the divine union of the two spiritual powers' 
, he breathed upon that polluted horde of devils the FoI. 14 b 
fiery blaze of fierce lightning, and suddenly, even like 
a light summer cloud, the company of devils disappear- 
ed from the air. For the holy light which was united with 
his luminous soul covered as with a cloud the young 
man who was strong in his God, and thereby his soul 
and the members thereof enjoyed the gladness of divine 
things, the extent and greatness of which the tongue 
of the flesh hath power neither to utter nor to declare. 

' Literally, "written down and set apart". 
2 Or, the two powers of the mind. 


And for all these things the holy man gave thanks 
unto the grace of our Lord with a humble heart, and 
with tears of anguish, saying, **0 our Lord Jesus 
"Christ, Thou beloved Son, for the sake of Whose 
"sweet and holy love Thy servants go down daily into 
"the strife for Thy kingdom — now from out of the strife 
"crowns appear — and they gain through mighty labours 
"and anxious care the glory and the exalted happi- 
"ness of the kingdom of heaven, [Page 20] according 
"to the word of the blessed man Paul, who said, Who- 
"soever laboureth in contending keepeth his mind 
"[free] from every other thing, for without the shedding 
"of blood there is no remission [of sins," help me.] ' 
Foi. 15^ This holy man then stripped himself | of every mate- 
rial thing which belongeth unto this corruptible world, 
and with all the members of his soul he laid hold upon 
our Lord only, the rich Man Who had taken up His 
abode in the house of the poor man, and He enriched 
him with His gifts and with the things which He be- 
stowed upon him, and the poor man became rich like 
unto his Master, not according to what was natural, 
but by grace. [For He saith], "Whosoever loveth Me, 
"and keepeth My word, I will love him and will shew 
"him Myself, and I and My Father will come to him, 
"and will make [Our] habitations with him."^ There- 
fore the young man made his shining soul a dwelling- 
place for the Holy Spirit, and by his glorious acts 
and life he became a mirror unto all the holy fathers 
and brethren who laboured in the ascetic life. For the 

^ Compare 2 Timothy II. 3, 4; Hebrews IX. 22. 
2 St. John XIV. 23. 


remembrance of his name among them was more be- 
loved than their Hving breath, and the triumphs of 
his humility and lowliness, and the purity and simpli- 
city of his soul and of his ready obedience, which 
surpassed the power of the meek {or humble), were 
renowned among them. And the young man of Christ 
made himself to be a winnowing fan ' and a means 
of propitiation for the whole brotherhood. 

Chapter V. 

<Df tl)e rejloration to life of tl^e young man wl>o xo<kd 

t)e)re& by a t>et)il. 

And it came to pass one day that certain folk 
brought to that Monastery a youth who was | twelve Foi. i 
years old, and who was vexed by an evil devil, and 
he remained there for nine and twenty days. And he 
was most grievously worked upon by that devil, for 
he was tortured by him in such wise that he broke 
[his] fetters {pr^ chains) and tore his garments in rags 
off his body, and bit off the flesh of his arms with 
his teeth and gnawed [it], and those w^ho were with 
him were in such sore tribulation that they were un- 
able [Page 2iJ to leave him at any time, either by day 
or by night, lest quickly and speedily his life should 
be destroyed by the devil who was contending against 
the young man. Now the holy congregation were suf- 
fering much on his behalf, and with one accord they 
made prayer for him that, if it were possible the youth 

^ The text has r^^vzj^sn, but we must read f^ 


might be released from his tribulation by any means 
which should be in conformity with the Divine Will. 
And our Lord hearkened unto the petition of His ser- 
vants after the manner of Divine Providence, and He 
released the youth from this temporary life, and his 
soul departed from his vexed body unto divine life 
and rest. Now his parents, and his brethren, and the 
members of his household were weeping for the de- 
parture of the young man in bitter suffering and with 
sorrowful tears, and by reason of the pain of their 
Foi. i6 a sore sorrow, | whereby the soul was led captive by 
their tearful grief, the sound of their voice[s] resound- 
ed throughout the whole Monastery; and every one 
who heard the sound of their crying was drawn to 
weep tears of sympathy and [to feel] anguish of soul. 
Now inasmuch as Rabban Hormizd was serving in 
that part of the Monastery where the monks lived to- 
gether, he was moved the more by the bitter lamen- 
tations [of the friends and relatives of the young man], 
but he did not permit himself to go* and look upon 
their sorrowful company. But the lovingkindness which 
filled his soul drew him to go to the place where the 
company of strangers was weeping, and the humility 
of the mind of him that was penitent in spirit stirred 
within him. 

And when he had drawn nigh unto them, and had 
seen the company in bitter and tearful mourning, the 
young man of Christ sat down opposite [to them], 
and wept with them tears of sorrow mingled with 

^ The text seems to be corrupt here, and for Ji\f<i ru.i we 
should probably read, Jl\f<i.l. 


lamentations. Now when our Lord saw that His 
athlete was so greatly wrought upon by sorrow on 
their behalf, by His lovingkindness and grace He 
wished to comfort them ; and the young man per- 
ceived in his holy mind in a hidden manner that the 
mercy of Christ was to be manifested upon them. 
And by reason of the freedom of speech which Christ 
had bestowed upon His servant, Rabban H6rmizd, 
the servant began | to make entreaty to His Master foI. i6 6 
[Page 22] through the great affection and lovingkind- 
ness which had stirred up His petitioner. Then the 
blessed man prayed with tears and sighs on their 
behalf, and the tribulation of those who were in 
affliction pressed heavily upon his mind, and the 
athlete of Christ cast [himself] into the strife on their 
behalf, and our Lord was not unmindful of him that 
made entreaty into Him, because he was making sup- 
plication unto Him for what He had fashioned. He 
stirred up His servant according to His will to beseech 
in love for mercy for those who were in affliction, 
and the Creator moved in love the soul of the young 
man within him. And the flesh of the young man 
[who was dead] began to tremble, and the movements 
thereof to be endued with life, and it was necessary 
that the glory of His Name should receive fulfilment 
through the deed [which was to be wrought]. And 
although it was deep night,* and he was held fast 
by forms of the imagination, and the air was cold, 

' /. ^., late in the night. 


and the rain was abundant, and he was exceedingly 
troubled at that time, yet, besides the mournful outcries 
of those who were in bitter grief of soul — which 
were exceedingly abundant — with the secret eye of 
his mind, and the observant brilliance of his under- 
standing, he looked in a hidden manner with the 
contemplative vision of his soul, and saw that the 
guardian angel who clave to the youth was holding 
Foi. 17 a fast to the members | of his soul, and that he would 
not permit the fulfilment of his restoration to life to 
become effected wholly until it should be brought 
about in very deed by the agency of the blessed 
man. And this actually took place according to the 
eternal fore-knowledge [of our Lord] which regardeth 
the welfare of the children of men. Now between 
these and these things the blessed man was in great 
doubt [how to act], for he was afraid to draw nigh 
openly to the dead body of the youth, and also he was 
afraid to delay his signs until the break of day when 
the company of mourners would recognize him; but 
quickly and speedily his way out of the difficulty 
became apparent, and it arose from his great poverty 
and stem self-abnegation.* Now Hormizd did not 
possess any bodily raiment or • apparel whatsoever, 
because he walked nakedly with all his heart in the 
way of the adorable Gospel, [Page 23] and he turned 

' I.e.^ be had stripped himself of his clothes as well as of his other 
earthly possessions, and went naked; as he was, probably, the only 
monk who wore no clothes at all in the Monastery, he knew that if 
he appeared everyone would at once recognize him. 


aside from the path of his fathers neither to the right 
hand nor to the left ; and he was exceedingly careful 
in leading a life of crucifixion to the world lest he 
should put on himself outwardly the apparel of vain- 
glory, that is to say, an old and ragged garment which 
would become a snare of the Crafty One, whilst he 
himself would remain | naked and without the glorious Foi. 17 b 
covering of the apparel of Christ. But he contrived 
a means of avoiding the net of the Enemy that he 
might be neither caught within it nor entangled in the 
meshes thereof — for the Devil is a cunning hawk — 
and so be drawn quickly and speedily into his den. 
Then straightway the blessed man ran into the Mon- 
astery while it was yet night, and having come to the 
place where was the apparel of the steward of the 
Monastery, he took from himself (literally^ his neck) 
his own outer garment, and put on the tunic of the 
steward of the Monastery ; and instead of his own 
wretched cloak he arrayed himself in the glorious 
garment of the steward, and thus apparelled he went 
forth from the Monastery. 

And it came to pass that whilst the company of 
mourners was weeping and making lamentation for 
their dead, the vision of the blessed man burst upon 
them, and they knew not who he was or whose 
son he might be ; and he asked them questions 
like one who was unacquainted with [the reason of] 
their sorrows. Now they thought that he was either 
a bishop or one of the chief men of the Mon- 
astery, and in their pain and sorrow they answered 
and said unto him, "What then? Thou must be a 



Foi. i8a "stranger,* and the only one of | this Monastery, who 
''doth not know and is not acquainted with the bitter 
"affliction which our son hath endured from the wide- 
ned devil that hath contended with him by night and 
"by day. Behold, it is now thirty days since we 
"brought him [hither] in the hope of his being cured 
"of the wicked devil which was living in him, but 
"he choked and died this evening at sunset ;'* and they 
were all weeping in bitter pain. Then [the blessed 
man] made them to be quiet, and said, "O ye stran- 
"gers, I entreat you not to weep, for the youth is 
"not dead but living; depart ye from [Page 24] my 
"presence for a little, for his soul is still in him, and 
"it hath not left him." And by reason of this joyful 
news they hearkened unto him, and they ceased from 
their weeping and separated themselves from him for. 
a little. Then the blessed man with tears in his eyes, 
and with intense pain on their behalf in his heart, 
made with his hand three times in the air the sign 
of the Cross, and said, "O our Lord Jesus Christ, 
"the Hope of Thy Church, during Thy human dis- 
"pensation, which was on our behalf: Thou didst re- 
"store to life the daughter of Jairus, the Chief of the 

Foi. 18 b "synagogue ; and didst give life | also to the son of 
"the widow; and didst raise up from the grave La- 
"zarus, who had been dead four days ; Thou art at 
"this present the Living One, and the Son of the 
"Living One, and for Thy Godhead nothing is too 

' The meanings of the text is, Is it possible that thou coming from 
this Monastery art ignorant of the bitter affliction which, etc. If thou 
art, thou must be a stranger, for thou art the only man that doth not 
know of it. 


"difficult, and Thy Will subsisteth with the Will of 
"Thy Father in Thy creative power. O our Lord, 
"Thou didst say unto Thy disciples in Thy Holy 
"Gospel, Ask, and it shall be given unto you, and 
"whatsoever ye shall ask My Father in My Name on 
"earth shall be given unto you from My Father Who 
"is in heaven;* open Thou the door unto the voice 
"of the lamentation of these strangers, and accept 
"the feebleness of me Thy servant, and lift Thou up 
"the gates of Thy Holy Church, and exalt Thou on 
"high the boasting of Her that hath been brought 
"low, by causing the soul of this youth to return 
"unto life ; and also let Thy Holy Name be glorified 
"in the sight of those who have hatred to Thy Holy 
"Church." And when he had finished his prayer, and 
had said *Amen', he cried unto the youth with his 
voice three times, and said, "John, John, in the Name 
"of Jesus Christ, rise up from the sleep of death*'; 
and at these words, which [were said] unto | him, the Foi. 19 a 
youth straightway opened his eyes and began to speak 
confusedly, and he asked for water and drank. And 
he ascribed glory unto Christ twice, saying, "Glory 
"[be] unto Thee Who hast given unto me life anew, 
"and Who hast also by Thy grace set me free from 
"the baleful might of that wicked devil". 

Now when the Satan, who had formerly dwelt in 
the youth and had made his habitation therein, saw 
[Page 25] that he had returned to life, and that he 
had been raised up from the dead and was alive, 
he cried out and spake in the Persian tongue, say- 

» St. John XV. 7, 16. 


ing, "Glory be unto that splendour of Christ which 
"hath built for me a house anew, and hath not left 
"me [to become] a wanderer and a stranger like my 
"companions ; yea, the good Providence of the Most 
"High, which is in all things, hath wrought according 
"to Its desire." And when the [kins] folk of the youth 
heard the voice of the Subtle One again they were 
perturbed at the sound of the speech of the Crafty 
One, and also the blessed man himself was greatly in 
fear of [that] devil lest he should expose him in the sight 
of those people and should know who he was, and 
lest he should become unto him a goad in this matter, 
and destroy his labours, and make him to become 
Foi. 196 superfluous to his spiritual courses;' | and the blessed 
man prayed with holy anxiety that [Christ] would 
make the Crafty One to have no effect upon either 
the youth or himself. And when the holy man had 
received upon himself power from on high, he turned 
to that crafty devil, and spake with him in the Per- 
sian tongue, and said unto him, "O evil and wicked 
"devil, who from the most remote period of thine 
"existence hast never felt shame and who to the end 
"of time and to all eternity wilt never feel shame, by 
"Jesus Christ the Nazarene, Who drove out thy le- 
"gion from him that used to dwell among the tombs, 
"be thou silent, and hold thy peace, and utter no 
"words, and expose me not, for I am a sinful man 
"and have need of mercy." Then the devil, who 
hearkened unto the humble words of the glorious 

' /. ^., if he should be discovered people would praise him, and 
all bis labours in the spiritual life would not avail in saving him from 
what he was most anxious to avoid. 


man, was constrained by the command to him of the 
holy man, and by the might of the angel who had 
been sent to his help, and through the holy splendour 
of Jesus Christ, he answered with murmurs, and said, 
"Hearken, O thou man, who art cunning in the bu- 
"siness of thy Lord, although thou hast contrived a 
**scheme craftily against the prince [of devils], and 
**against death, who is my yoke-fellow, by means of 
"the mighty Sign' of thy humility of the pure things 
"which appertain thereunto, thou hast not overcome 
"the two mighty ones"; | and after these words thatFoi.20rt 
devil spake no more. Then the blessed man made a 
washing of the cross which was on him, and gave 
[Page 26] thereof unto the young man to drink, and 
when the youth who had been raised from the dead 
had drunk it, the holy man signed him with the sign 
of the Cross three times in the Name of Jesus Christ; 
and the holy man departed from the youth who had 
not recognized who he was. And the blessed man 
returned to his fellow monks and sent back the ap- 
parel of the steward which he had taken, and con- 
cealed his glory, and then he went and lay down to 
sleep again with his fellow monks. 

And as soon as it was light and when the day had 
come, the [rumour of the] splendid deed of the rais- 
ing of the youth from the dead spread abroad in that 
holy Monastery. Now in the heart of each of the 
monks sorrow had tarried the whole night through 
for the death of the youth, and every member of that 
holy congregation was prepared to go to his funeral 

' /. e,, the Cross. 


as soon as the morning should come ; yet behold, 
they received the person of the young man who had 
been dead with joy, and instead of being dead he 
was alive. But mingled with the gladness there was 
much asking of questions by them, and the congre- 

Foi. 20 b gation enquired | of its fathers and spake to them 
concerning the matter of the man whom they knew 
not, yet about whom each one of them was saying 
the same thing. But who could bring into his mind 
that this thing had been performed by Divine agency? 
Glory be unto Thee, O our Lord, for this wonder- 
ful thing was not done contrary to Thy Will. And 
they said, "The angel of the Lord hath again come 
"down'' [upon earth]. 

Now Satan was exceedingly wroth and was filled 
with hot anger at all this perfection which had been 
made perfect in the holy man, and he was very wish- 
ful and desirous to fulfil his will in him, but when- 
ever the rebel drew nigh to wage war against him 
he only sustained defeat in his own person, because 
the holy man was girded about with the fair gar- 
ment of the invincible armour of upright and simple 
humility, which is the apparel which overcometh the 
devils, and causeth those who possess it [Page 27] to 
gain a crown. And whither can the humble man fall 
since he hath set himself below every man? In this 
garb our Lord arrayed Himself when He went down 

FoU2ia into the strife and contest against | Satan, and Satan 
found himself to be vanquished in the combat with 
Him, and he and [all] his host received misery and 
woe, and [our Lord] removed from him three crowns 
of victory. Therefore, [O Satan,] henceforth and for 


ever thou shall never have dominion over the host 
of the children of righteous men! 

And three nights after these things had been ac- 
complished in the holy man by Divine agency, while 
the blessed man was in prayer and holding converse 
with God, at midnight there burst upon him suddenly 
a horde of devils, and they used menaces and threats 
against the holy man, and they fell upon him without 
mercy and beat him with exceedingly severe blows: 
and they left him lying in a miserable plight with only 
a small breath of life remaining in him, and then they 
departed from him. Now he was lying in a small cell 
in the buildings of the Monastery, and not one of his 
fellow coenobites knew of the things which had been 
done to him by the devils. But our Lord, Who was 
a spectator of the strife of the athlete, was not un- 
mindful of His servant, and He sent to his help one 
of His spiritual | ambassadors, who took him by his Foi. 2i£> 
right hand, and set him upon his feet, and said unto 
him, **[I have come] because thy Lord was a specta- 
"tor of thy strife, and [because] thou hast still to con- 
"tend for a little against wicked spirits ; but later thou 
"shalt have happiness after the manner of the spirit 
*'with great glory'*; and having said these words the 
being of the spirit departed from his side, and im- 
mediately he felt relief from the pain of the blows. 
Now the devils used to inflict tortures upon him the 
whole night long secretly in his cell, and in the day- 
time he used to work openly in the Monastery with 
his fellow monks ; yet even in the daytime Satan 
used to be in wait for him, [Page 28] that, perad- 
venture, he might be able to trip him up and to 


make him to entangle his feet in one of the many- 
snares of his nets. For this is the custom of the 
Crafty One : whensoever he hath knowledge of a 
man who hath received a gift from God, his anger 
becometh unbearable [to him], and he burneth with 
envy against him, and stirreth up war against him, 
so that he may be able to put away from him that 
gift and to plunder him of it. [And our Lord saith,] 
"Behold, Satan seeketh to sift you like wheat, but 
"I have entreated My Father that your faith may 
Foi. 22^ "not be diminished".' | And again, Peter the Apostle 
said, "Keep yourselves awake, and pray, for your 
"Enemy, Satan, roareth like a lion and goeth about, 
"and seeketh whom he may devour."^ Nevertheless, 
even after Satan had been vanquished many times 
by the Divine power which dwelt in the blessed man, 
he was neither wearied nor ashamed of the fight which 
he waged against him ; but he was continually devis- 
ing new plans and weaving crafty plots according 
to his wont, and he was summoning his hosts to 
do battle with him, and he made ready his faithful 
ones to contend against the righteous man, saying, 
"O ye hosts, ye children of my right hand, help me 
"[against] this man who is the opponent of our host 
"in every thing. And ye know, O my warriors, that 
"he despiseth our ranks and maketh a mock at our 
"hosts; and he waggeth his head in derision at us, 
"and shooteth out his lips in contempt at our assem- 
"blies, and what is far worse for us than all these 

^ St. Luke XXII. 3 1, 32. 
2 I St. Peter V. 8. 


"things, he doth not consider us of any moment what- 
"soever in this world. Now, we have been beings of 
"might from the beginning of the world unto this 
"present, and we have brought the world into a state 
"of subjection so that we might live therein, and in 
"all the generations of the world we have slain and 
"cast down upon the earth thousands, and tens of 
"thousands | of just and righteous men by means ofpoi. 22^ 
"the crafty schemes of our weapons ; and yet this man 
"laugheth at us and maketh us to be afraid, and he 
"hath stiffened his neck against us that he may be 
"able to vanquish us. Therefore we must act cun- 
"ningly with this man that, peradventure, we may be 
"able to cast him down in shame, lest his fighting 
"against us wax strong, [Page 29] and he rebel against 
"us and make us to be a laughingstock, and treat 
"our host with contempt/' 

Then the devils began to wage war of a different 
kind against him, for they used to come against him 
by night in the loathsome and hideous forms of all 
manner of destructive wild beasts, and of reptiles, 
and dragons, and huge serpents which shot forth the 
venom of death, that they might frighten him with 
trembling and terror, so that he might become dis- 
tracted and horror-stricken, and might look at them, 
and thus they might be able to lead captive his mind. 
But even with this new and cunning trick which they 
had schemed against the wonderful man the evil ones 
went forth from the array of their contest defeated, 
for the blessed man had, according to his mighty 
wont, cut asunder the nets of their snares, and laughed 
at their hosts, and made his voice to be heard in their 


assemblies, and defeated them like a mighty man of 
war, and brought them low by means of his mild and 

Foi. 23 a peaceful humility. | Now although the devils were 
again vanquished by the help of the grace of ouf Lord, 
at night time they again brought back upon the blessed 
man the bow of war, and they began to cast arrows 
in secret at him that was perfect in his goings, that, 
peradventure, his mind might be too much distracted 
and disturbed by fear to arm himself to fight against 
them with the shield of the faith of Christ. And the 
combat which the devils made against him was so 
exceedingly strong, that by reason of the sight of 
these fearful phantoms his life was destroyed in his 
body, and his heart also fell down upon him,* and 
he became like a dead man ; and had it not been 
for the mercy of Christ, Who is never unmindful of 
His athletes who lift up their gaze to His help dur- 
ing every breath of their lives, his soul would have 
departed from his body through terror. O how mighty 
and fierce is the fight which the devils make against 
holy men, for they wage war mercilessly against the 
saints and athletes of our Lord by means of violent 
attacks which can hardly be borne! 

[Page 30] Then the devils began a new kind of war 
[against the blessed man], for they sowed within him 

Foi. 23 b thoughts of I pride and of boastfulness that, perad- 
venture, by this cunning plan they might be able to 
ensnare him, and he might fall under their condem- 
nation, ^ and they might make him a [scene] for 

' I, e.f his courage collapsed. 

^ /. e., the same condemnation as themselves. 


visions and an abode for their songs, and then they 
would easily be able to steal from him the gift which 
had been given unto him by God, that is to say, 
the humility which overcometh devils, and then the 
downfall of the valiant man would be an easy matter 
for them [to effect]. Such were the crafty schemes 
which the devils were devising against the wonderful 
man, and the Crafty One wished that he might be 
caught in this snare, so that peradventure they might 
be able to make feeble his strenuousness and vi- 
gorous strength in such wise that he might not wax 
strong and rebel against them, and that, the blessed 
man having been caught in [their] snares, they might 
be able to lift up the heel against him, and might 
laugh at him and make a mock at him, saying, "Ihi, 
i'lhi, our eye hath seen him".* But the prey never 
cometh in the way of the crafty man, for the snare 
which they dug they shall fill with their persons {pr^ 
statures), and the pit which they hid shall become 
[their own] portion of destruction. 

Chapter VI. 

<Df t^e won&erful twinge w^ic^ l?e wrougl^t, <kvX> l^ow ^e 

turned water into oXvot oil. 

Now a few days after [these things] Rabban, the 
head of the Monastery, called the blessed man, and 
said I unto him, "Take this money, and get thee unto Foi. 24 a 
'*one of the cities in our neighbourhood, and buy 
"us a little oil for use in the sacristy and for the 

^ Psalm XXXV. 21. 


**need[s] of the brethren." And inasmuch as the 
obedience and lowHness of the blessed man surpass- 
ed the measure of [all] the meek {or^ humble), who 
were in his time, he offered ready submission unto 
Rabban, and hearkened unto the command of the 
master; and he took two of his fellow monks with 
him, and goods, and money, and they departed on 
their journey towards the city of the Ma^allethaye,' 
whereunto they were going. And they were obliged 
to pass the night all together in a church, and they 
found [Page 31] therein an assembly of seven and 
twenty poor folk who had been shut up in the church 
as prisoners by the Governor because [they had not 
paid] the poll tax, and they were very evilly en- 
treated at the hands of the Governor of the country. 
And when our Rabban saw that those poor folk were 
in great tribulation, and that they were persecuted 
by the Governor on account of the true faith,^ he 
decided in his faithful mind, which was full of mercy 
and was overflowing with divine compassion, saying, 
Foi. 24^ '*It is better to rescue [these] | poor folk who have 
"been made prisoners for the true faith [than to buy 
"oil]", and he said within his holy self, "For the sake 
"of Christ I will redeem the people of Christ, and I 
"will put my hope in Him, for He knoweth what is 

^ The city of Ma*alletha, /. e,, bUJLjc« was situated about one 
hour's distance from Dehok, a place about thirty-five or forty miles 
north of Mdwsel. It was one of the twelve dioceses under the Ma- 
phrian of Tekrit, and is often mentioned together with Henaitha. See 
Hoffmann, Auszuge, p. 238: and my Book of Governors, vol. II. pp. 
238, 239. 

^ /. e,f the governor of the city was either a Muhammadan or a 
Jacobite, and the seven and twenty men were Nestorians. 


"required by me and by the holy fathers who have 
"sent me on this journey before we can ask Him." 
Now he acted with exceedingly great wisdom in re- 
spect of the divine merchandize {pr^ business), for he 
was afraid of the devil of boasting and of [spiritual] 
exaltation, lest he should fall under the condemna- 
tion of Satan and [so] destroy his own divine la- 
bours; for however much treasure there is hidden in 
the earth, it is under guard. And moreover, this bless- 
ed man was anxious not to work quickly and speed- 
ily a deed of excellence before the eyes of fleshly 
sight, but [only] before the Father of lights, even as 
it is written in the Book of Life, the adorable Gospel, 
"When thou prayest, go into thy closet, and shut the 
"door on thyself, and pray to thy Father in secret, 
"and thy Father Who seeth in secret shall reward 
"thee openly/'* And he was greatly, and in no small 
degree, | afraid of falling into the hands of the devil Foi. 25 a 
of vain-glory^ [whereby he would lose the opportun- 
ity of] bringing forth spiritual fruit in abundance: 
for all the labours of the life of ascetic excellence 
are placed under the fear of this devil, [Page 32J and 
for this reason all the works of excellence of the 
blessed man were wrought with wisdom. So thus 
wishing to redeem those prisoners he took the money 
which was with him, and he gave it unto those who 
were imprisoned for the true faith, and said unto 
them, "O my beloved, take ye this money, and re- 
*'deem yourselves from the hands of the wicked Go- 

^ St. Matthew VI. 6. 

* A gap occurs in the text here. 


'*vernor, and ye shall not destroy' your true faith 
''which is in Christ and which He acquired by His 
"precious blood which [was shed] on Golgotha. Take 
"this money, and pray for me, for I am in need of 
"your prayers/' Then those men received the money 
from the hands of the holy man, that is to say, 
three hundred and fifty pieces of silver,* and thus 
seven and twenty souls were redeemed by him. 

And the blessed man removed himself from their 
midst, and drew nigh unto his companions, and said 
Foi. 25tunto them, "Forgive ye me, | O my fathers, in a 
"matter which concerneth the mission of the journey 
"upon which we have been sent by Rabban. I have 
"heard from men who repeat and say such things 
"that there is fine oil [to be obtained] either in the 
"city of MawseP or in the city of Baladh,* I forget 
"[which]. But I counsel you, my beloved, that ye 
"each^ go and bring unto us news concerning the 
"oil which can be obtained in these cities, and unto 
"the city, the measure of [the] excellence [of the oil 
"of] which shall exceed that of its fellow, we will 
"direct our course, for the sake of the advantage of 

^ Or, lose. 

^ The coin was probably the z^zd, and in value about sixpence. 

^ It seems to follow from the narrative that the nearest town to 
the Monastery of Rabban Bar-'Idta was Ma'alletha, and it is pretty 
clear that the Monastery lay at no great distance from it. From Ma- 
'alletha to Mawsel was a journey of thirty-five to forty miles, and 
from Ma'all^thi to Baladh it was little more than twenty miles, but 
the road was a very bad one, and lay across rough mountains until 
the flat plain on the east bank of the river was reached. 

* Baladh or Eski- Mawsel lies on the east bank of the Tigris 
about forty miles above Mawsel. 

' /. e,, one of you go to Mawsel, and the other to Biladh. 


— — ■- ■ — — — ■ — — ^ — ■ ■ — — — - -11 » ■ - — ■ ■■ »--■■■■ ■■^— — 

"the whole community of the brethren." And when his 
companions the coenobites heard these things from 
him, without delay and without hesitation they made 
their way according to the command which they had 
received from Rabban, for his command was as 
weighty in their sight as the command of an Angel. 
Now when the monks had departed a little way 
from the blessed man he turned his face towards the 
animals* which were with him, and he took them and 
led them outside the city of Ma'allSthayS in the early 
dawn, when it was still dark. And he found on the 
bank, of the river a part of the city which was hid- 
den, and secret, and concealed from the place where 
the people | walked, [Page 33] and there he tied up FoI. 26 a 
the animals* wTiich he had with him. Then he turned 
his face to the East, and prayed, saying, "O our 
"Lord Jesus Christ, the mighty Hope of Thy Church, 
"and the Boast of Christian peoples. Thou mighty 
"Refuge of him that calleth upon Thy Name, Thou 
"rest-giving Haven of all strangers and humble folk; 
"Thou, O Lord, in Thy Divine dispensation didst at 
"the marriage feast at Cana of Galilee change water 
"into wine, and, besides. Thou didst satisfy innumer- 
"able thousands of people with bread which Thy Will 
"made to be abundant. Thou, O Lord, didst make 
"the promise in Thy Life-giving Gospel unto Thy 
"blessed disciples, and didst say unto them, *If two 
"of you shall be of one mind^ on earth concerning 
"every thing for which they shall ask, it shall be given 

^ rdlAla means literally ''possession", but it is quite clear that 

means flocks and herds as well as household g;oods. 
2 Literally, "shall be equal". 




Fol. 26 b 

*unto them from My Father Who is in heaven. And 
*your Father Who is in heaven knoweth of what ye 
'are in need before ye ask Him'.' By these words 
*[also] in Thy Holy Gospel Thou hast stirred us up 
'to make petitions unto Thee, according to Thy holy 
'commandment unto Thy disciples, 'Seek and ye shall 
'find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you/* 
'Thou Thyself knowest what is in the hearts of all 
'men, and that although I have committed my soul 
'unto Thee with all my heart, I have not performed 
'[any] service | before Thee, not even for a single 
'moment^ according to Thy Will, but [I have hope] 
'that Thou wilt receive favourably my sinful acts. 
'And Thou hast put them away, and hast most merci- 
'fuUy cast them behind Thy back, and by Thy grace 
'Thou hast made them to possess boldness of speech 
'to such a degree that they may seek from Thee the 
'things which, though too mighty for our nature, be- 
'long unto Thee naturally, and have been throughout 
'all the generations of the world under Thy direct- 
'ing care and providential guidance eternally. Give 
'me, O Lord, water in secret, but let it appear to 
'be oil outwardly, for the sake of Thy sweet love, 
'that Thy Holy Name may be glorified in Thy Holy 
'Church, now, and always, and for ever and ever. 

And when the prayer of the holy man had come 
to an end, he took the skin bottles from the pack- 
saddles and began to fill them with water in the 

' St. Matthew XVIII. 19; VI. 8. 
2 St. Matthew VII. 7. 
* Or, hour. 


Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, [Page 34] and in hope 
in His words which give confidence and in His pro- 
mises which have never proved to be untrue. And 
Satan prevented him from pouring water into the 
bottles, saying, "I will not let thee pour water into 
"the bottles of the monks, for I would shew compas- 
**sion on the bottles that they may not be rent in 
"pieces and destroyed; but depart thou from their 
"habitation so that they may be prosperous in their 
"labours, and may increase sevenfold/ | And I willFoi. 27^ 
"not allow thee to perform thy will and that which 
"is in thy heart." Now when the holy man saw that 
Satan would not allow him to pour the water into 
the bottles, he besought the Lord to make of no 
effect his crafty plans by means of his own upright 
actions, and behold, there suddenly appeared to help 
him a holy angel, and by means of the compulsion 
of the angel who had come to the assistance of the 
holy man, Satan himself filled the bottles with water 
from the river. And when Satan had filled all the 
bottles with water, the Lord made a desire for his 
fellow coenobites to be perceptible in the mind of 
the holy man, and he prayed to his Lord for [the 
presence of] his companions on the journey who lived 
with him in the monastery. Then according to the 
Divine agency which cleaveth unto those who love 
it, and which ministereth unto them, when as yet his 
companions had not departed from him a distance 
of two or three stages, suddenly the holy angel 
appeared before them in the form of the holy man 

' Literally, "and they shall come before them one in seven 




Rabban Hormizd, and said unto them, **Come ye, O 
"my beloved, with me, for I have bought oil, and 
"have filled the skins therewith according to your de- 
"sire." And the angel walked in front of them and 
they followed swiftly after him, and by the Divine 
Foi. 276 I agency they arrived at the place where the holy 
man was standing with his loads [of oil], and the 
shadow of him that called them was united unto the 
stature of the holy man, and the monks thought that 
it was he who had called them, and had walked be- 
fore them, but by reason of their joy which clung 
unto the love of their companion, it never entered 
into their [Page 35] minds [to think] how, and in what 
manner the skins had been suddenly filled with oil. 
Now the blessed man had drawn seven loads of oil 
from the waters of the river. And singing psalms and 
praying the holy man journeyed on his way, saying, 
"O God, Thou alone art He Who doeth wonderful 
"things: O Lord, shew us Thy way, and I will walk 
'•[therein] in the truth." 

And it came to pass after one day more they ar- 
rived at the Monastery, and they set down their 
burdens from the animals, and the brethren perceiv- 
ed that the oil was good, and of the finest quality, 
and they ascribed praise unto him that had brought 
it. Now this was another great [and] wonderful thing 
which Christ wrought by the agency of the holy 
man, for this saint was wise and understanding in 
this spiritual business,' "If ye have faith in you, and 
"have not doubt, ye shall say unto this mountain, 

^ /. e», trafficking in spiritual things. 


'''Depart hence', and it shall depart, | and nothing foI. 28 j 
"shall be too difficult for you,'" For every man who 
is by Grace esteemed worthy of the gift of the Holy 
Spirit sheweth forth the operations thereof in many 
ways. Some work mighty deeds and signs and won- 
ders ; and others again extinguish the powers of fire ; 
and unto some the Holy Spirit giveth the [power] to 
walk swiftly upon the fluid nature of water; and unto 
others the gifts [of knowing] even the mysteries of 
the things which are about to take place in the new 
world. On some He maketh [the gift of] prophecy 
to descend, and on others the understanding' of the 
Spirit; unto some [He giveth the power] to raise the 
dead, and unto others the dominion over evil spirits. 
And again, by their prayers, some have given chil- 
dren unto barren women. "Whosoever believeth on 
Me", according to what the Scriptures say, "rivers 
of living water shall flow forth from his belly." ^ And, 
inasmuch as He speaketh of "living water", He maketh 
us to know clearly concerning the gift of the Holy 
Spirit which shall be given unto him that is worthy 
to receive it. Now the Spirit of Holiness which worketh 
is one, yet it is given unto each one in the Spirit; 
and although multitudes of different ways are adopt- 
ed by Grace [in its bestowal], yet [Page 36] all those 
who are esteemed worthy | of this gracious gift from foI. 28 b 
the Father of lights drink from one and the same 
fountain. For to him unto whom this gift of the Holy 
Spirit hath been given from heaven [shall it be] ac- 

I St. Matthew XVII. 20. 

* /. ^., power of discernment. 

* St. John VII. 38. 


cording to the word of the divine Paul [which saith], 
"We are all one body in Christ."* Now our Lord 
Christ is the Head^ of the whole Church, and we 
all are members, each in his proper place, and our 
Lord is King over the whole body ; and as the 
understanding is the king of the soul, even so the 
power of life is carried unto each one of the mem- 
bers for use [in time of] its need. And the Divine 
help hath flowed into all the inmost parts of the 
Church from the Head of our life, Jesus Christ, Who 
maketh His athletes to triumph. 

Now when the blessed man had gone into the 
common building of the Monastery unto his compa- 
nions, [he found that] they were making jests with 
Rabban, and saying unto him, "Peradventure Rab- 
"ban H6rmizd hath bought this oil in the Paradise 
**of the Eden of Delight, for it possesseth marvellous 
"taste, and colour, and smell." But the blessed man 
himself, in the simple humility which was filling his 
soul, made answer unto them with words which [arose 
from] the lowliness of his mind, saying, *'0 my fathers, 
Foi. 29 a **I am skilled neither | in buying nor selling, but in 
"the innocence of my heart I drew nigh unto the 
"seller of the oil, and the money which ye did send 
"with me I gave unto him, and he measured the oil 
"and gave [it] unto me; and as for the praises which 
"ye are giving to this oil it is right that [your] praise 
"and approval should be [bestowed upon] it, for it 
"hath been made perfect by your prayers. I, like a 

' Romans XII. 5. 

* Literally, "in the form of the Head of the whole of His Church". 


"useless servant, [only] rendered obedience unto you, 
"and we owe, therefore, praises unto your prayers, 
"and it was through the help which arose from them 
"that the Lord made my way to prosper." Now, not- 
withstanding all these divine triumphs which were 
wrought by his means, the blessed man became more 
and more humble, and nearer and still nearer did he 
draw nigh unto divine things. 

[Page 37] And moreover, during the time when Rab- 
ban Hormizd was still serving in the Monastery in the 
subjection which cometh from [service] therein, there 
came unto that holy Monastery MSr Sylvanus, Bishop 
of Mount Kard6,' on one business or another which 
had called him there. Now because this man Sylva- 
nus was a famous man, and merited remembrance 
for good, — moreover, by reason of the purity and 
simplicity of his mind the history of his triumphs is 
written in the letters of life — he was esteemed by his 
Lord to be worthy of divine revelations | at all sea- Foi. 29 b 
sons, and by the agency of Divine Providence was 
he guided in his daily life. And when the holy man 
Mar Sylvanus had remained there three days, he 
took up his abode in a cell which was nigh unto 
the common building of the Monastery. And it came to 
pass [one night], after he had ended the first section^ 

' I. e., Jabal al-Judi of the Arabs, on the left bank of the Tigris, 
over against Jazirat ibn-*Omar. 

^ r€:^h\CiS9it literally "session". The Psalms appointed to be read 
in the Nestorian ritual are divided into twenty r€S^C09f which are 
called ruAoCD. Mr. Badger gives a full account of the^ sessions or 
kaihismaia in his Nestorians and their Rituals, vol. II. 21, 282, etc. 


of the Psalms which are sung after supper,' and the 
reader had sat down to read the commentary on the 
book of Genesis to the brethren, that the mind of 
the holy man Mar Sylvanus was seized and carried 
away by the contemplation of divine things, during 
which there were revealed unto him the mysteries 
and the things which were about to take place in 
the new world. And he also learned with his under- 
standing divine and hidden mysteries, and he also 
saw with the eye which was illumined [by the Spirit] 
the beings of the house of Enoch and Elijah,* and 
all the righteous men who have lived beneath the 
heavens ; and the deeds and life also of our Rabban 
were not hidden from him, nor the various qualifica- 
tions of his capacity, nor the boldness of speech 
which he possessed with Christ. And when his mind 
had tarried for a time in those regions of spiritual 
beings, and he had enjoyed the happiness thereof 
with heavenly contemplations, it returned to him, and 
his understanding abode with him again, and he ob- 
tained knowledge of all the mysteries and hidden 
Foi. 3o a things which he had learned from the | friends of 
Christ through the Spirit, Who made him wise. 

Then the blessed Sylvanus desired to seek out our 
Rabban, and to be blessed by him, and to learn his 
ways face to face, but the divine mercy prevented him 
from doing this; and when it had become [Page 38] 
day, he again wished to go into the common build- 
ing of the Monastery, to see Rabban, and to be 

= compleiorium, 
^ /. ^., the company or companions of Enoch and Elijah. 


blessed by him, but the Spirit of Jesus persuaded him 
[not to do this]. And when the time had come to be- 
gin [the service of] the Holy Mysteries, he com- 
manded the sacristan of the Monastery to take [the 
hammer] and to beat the board to [announce this] to 
the brethren ; and when he had beaten the board 
for the second marmtthd^^ and had begun to finish 
that which referreth to the Trinity, the board which 
was beaten fell from his shoulders, and his soul be- 
came silent within him, and his thoughts and mind 
were seized and carried away by the vision of the 
Holy Trinity.* And upon the holy man Mar Sylvanus 
himself alighted this gift, and in one moment they 
were enjoying themselves together in the constitution 
of that new world, and of the good things thereof 
which never come to an end; and they remained in 
this state of stupefaction, which was beyond com- 
pare, for about three hours, and then they came to 
themselves. And each of them learned what | had FoI. 3o h 
been revealed unto him by the mercy of Jesus, and 
the two men became companions, each of the other, 
in that perfect and divine love wherein they were 
about to live in the new world of the Son of God. 
Now, our holy men were, henceforward, from time 
to time, that is to say, at all hours, sojourning each 
in his happiness as long as they were living their 

^ The Psalter is divided into fifteen r^ff*^ ^ **T1 **T , and each 
f^dUCnTSA into four rcV»,nftr., and each ctV»nftr. into three or 
four Psalms. 

^ It would seem from the text as if Rabban Hormizd was hold- 
ing the board. 


mortal lives/ even as [this] thing was done at that 
time for these two men, who had been consecrated 
with our oil. 

And when the holy man Mar Sylvanus had learn- 


ed of our Rabban by the Holy Spirit, he went up 
to the common building of the Monastery where he 
was ; and as soon as Rabban had learned of his 
coming up thither to him, by means of the Holy 
Spirit Who made him wise, he withdrew himself be- 
fore he came there, and hid himself for a little in the 
portion of the Monastery where the monks his com- 
panions lived together, lest quickly and speedily he 
should be wounded by the poisoned arrow of vain- 
glory, and should be impeded in the course of his 
journey which was perfect in God. Now, he hated 
greatly this devil, and the war [with him], and his 
temptation[s], for he well knew concerning him from 
the doctrine of the holy fathers, and that in this war 
Foi. 3iaof vainglory [Page 39] | many of the great fathers 
had been entangled and that they had stumbled and 
fallen, and had become superfluities unto their mon- 
asteries.' Therefore Rabban also was greatly afraid 
of this temptation, for none of the ascetics who had 
been taken in this snare ever escaped very quickly 
from the diverse crooked snares of this crafty hawk, 
and from the thorny plant with two and twenty heads. 
O thou merchant who art filled with the things of 
spiritual wisdom, who hast crushed the head of the 
dragon of the mind, that is to say, vainglory, thou 

' /. e., as long as each lived his mind was carried away in this 
manner at intervals. 

^ /. e,, they had abandoned their monasteries. 



hast built up between him and thee the fence of thy 
humility, and the son of the wall * of thy lowliness. 
And when Mar Sylvanus the Bishop perceived that 
Rabban had withdrawn himself from the common 
building on account of him, — now he had observed 
the plan which he had learned from the blessed man 
— he sought him out, following in his footsteps, and 
overtook him on the eastern side of that holy Mon- 
astery, where they embraced each other with holy 
kisses, and they prayed and sat down to hold con- 
verse together with edifying and spiritual words. And 
after an hour [spent in] converse [concerning] the 
world of judgment, they also began to speak with 
new tongues concerning the new and glorious world. Foi. 3i b 
And in accordance with the Divine Providence which 
regardeth all things, suddenly the two of them be- 
came involved in the contemplation of things which 
are, and of corporeal and of incorporeal [beings], 
and they were examining into the refined and spiri- 
tualized intelligences, and into the secret things and 
hidden mysteries which were revealed unto them there 
by the mercy of Jesus ; and then their thoughts took 
up their abode in them again, and their understand- 
ing returned to its wonted condition. And there they 
made new their faithful {or, believing) minds, which 
were remote from the doubt which setteth itself in 
opposition [to faith], and the cunning thoughts of 
the children of men; then the holy man Mar Sylva- 
nus set out and departed unto his own country, car- 

^ /. e., the low bank which is built up in front of the main walls 
of a building to form a kind of defensive outwork; in the case of 
Rabban his humility was the main wall, and his lowliness the glads. 


rying with him in his holy soul [Page 40] the thought 
of the holy love of Rabban Hormizd, [and the won- 
der] how it was that such a glorious light as this 
was to be found among created beings. 

Now therefore, by the Divine agency, and by the 
help of the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, Rabban, 
the head of the Monastery, called him (z. e., Hor- 
niizd), and said unto him, "Is not the service which 
"thou hast served with the other monks in the Mon- 
"astery sufficient for thee? For behold, thou hast al- 
"ready served for seven years in the common build- 
"ing." And Rabban received the counsel of that holy 
Foi. 32 a head, and armed himself | with prayers secretly, and 
went forth from the common building, and from the 
service thereof, and took up his abode in a cell by 
himself; and he began to exchange the ascetic la- 
bours of the body for the cultivation of the mind, be- 
cause he had found the carefully guarded seclusion and 
peace, which from the beginning of his discipleship 
and from his youth up he had earnestly desired. 
And he began forthwith to gird up his loins with 
the word of truth, and to put on his holy mind the 
breastplate of righteousness, and he shod his feet 
with the preparation of the adorable Gospel, and he 
armed himself with the buckler of Apostolic faith, 
and he set the sword of the Holy Spirit at his side 
like a mighty man of war; and he began to extin- 
guish the burning darts of the Evil One, and he be- 
gan to bear upon his shoulder his cross, even as he 
had been commanded, that is to say, the patient en- 
durance of tribulations. He went forth from the Mon- 
astery, and from among the coenobites his compa- 


nions, and took up his abode in a cell by himself; 
he fasted strenuously, ten days at a time, and [he 
never enjoyed] the rest of sleep by night. He would 
never allow himself to sleep upon the ground, neither 
by day nor by night, and [he passed his nights] in 
chaste and wakeful vigil, and [in praying] sincere 
prayers, | and [in shedding] sorrowful tears. When- FoI. 32 b 
ever he was in dire need and was compelled to 
snatch a little sleep, he used [to do so] resting his 
side [or, back] against one of the walls of his cell, 
and thus supporting himself he would take only such 
a portion of his sleep [Page 41] as was necessary for 
his body, and then turn again to his spiritual bu- 
siness, that is to say, to the continual converse 
which he held with God, with fasting and frequent 
prayers by night and by day. And at length, by 
reason of [his] severe daily labours, his body be- 
came poor and emaciated, and his strong body was 
reduced and became like unto the shadow which 
passeth away. And by reason of the well-guarded 
seclusion and tranquillity in which he passed his days 
and his hours the sight of his eye[s] which belonged 
unto the senses declined, and the pupils of his eyes 
became dark, although his soul became young again 
and again and was renewed in excellence and purity. 
And it ascended unto such an exalted stage of spi- 
rituality and impassible simplicity that he was always 
exercising his mind and understanding on spiritual 
things, and at length the whole of him became fired* 
with the Divine fire, and he could see the things 

^ Literally, "the whole of him became fire in fire". 


which were afar off as if they had been near, and 
the wiles and crafts of evil spirits were being always 
laid bare before the sight of his eye of the under- 
standing, and by means of the illumined eye of his 
holy mind he was driving them from the uttermost 
Foi. 33 a bounds I of creation. 

And Rabban Hormizd remained in that holy Mon- 
astery of Rabban Bar-*Idta for a period of nine and 
thirty years [and was performing] glorious works, and 
leading a life of ascetic excellence, which was be- 
yond [ordinary] human nature, and by means of him 
Christ wrought there many mighty deeds, which are 
described above. And by the mercy of Christ he was 
esteemed worthy of those mighty gifts, wherewith the 
children and the firstborn sons of the Spirit, who have 
been begotten after the manner of the Spirit, are en- 
dowed; for in the mind of Rabban Hormizd there 
was conceived the spiritual progeny of glorious re- 
velations which [springeth] from that Self-existent One 
Who is the sovereign of the worlds. And it came to 
pass one night, whilst this firstborn son was watching 
with the angels, that his mind was suddenly carried 
away in contemplation of God, and divine light, 
which in its [Page 42] brilliant radiance was seven 
times brighter than the light of the sun which is per- 
ceived by the senses, burst forth in his cell, and there 
was wafted into it a sweet odour, the smell whereof for 
sweetness surpassed that of all the most choice scents. 
Now there lived by the side of Rabban's cell a cer- 
tain man whose rule of life and habit was excellent 
and glorious, and who is worthy of being remem- 
bered for good; and his name was Abraham, and 

Fol. 33 b 


he was an ascetic who lived wholly alone, for he 
loved a life of ascetic contemplation and rest. And 
this holy man also saw this wonderful thing which 
perfection was proclaiming concerning the triumphant 
deeds of Rabban Hormizd, and he also was parti- 
cipating in the joy of that glorious thing with Rab- 
ban; and although he was not doing so in the same 
degree as Rabban, yet he did so according to the 
faculty possessed by his mind and by the strength 
of his rational intelligence. Even thus was Abraham 
occupying himself in the glory of Rabban and lead- 
ing a life of ascetic contemplation, and Rabban, with 
his strenuous mind, was [associated] with him. But, 
inasmuch as the vision of the mind of Rabban Abra- 
ham did [not] burn as brightly, and was not as 
healthy as that of Rabban Hormizd, he was depriv- 
ed of [full] spiritual enjoyment and conversation with 
the blessed man. 

And it came to pass that when Rabban Hormizd 
had remained in this spiritual enjoyment for a space 
of three hours of the night which I have mentioned, 
by the grace of our Lord his mind returned | to its Foi. 34 a 
wakefulness, and his understanding took up its abode 
with him, and his thoughts and senses returned to 
consciousness. Then, suddenly, Abba Abraham, of 
whom I have made mention above, knocked at the 
door of Rabban's cell, and Rabban rose up and 
opened the door to him ; and when Abba Abraham 
had gone in, they sat down [together] for a season, 
and they discoursed with each other on the matters 
of ascetic excellence which are useful in the service 
of and for the edifice of the life of. the solitary monk. 


And Rabban Hormizd answered and said unto Abra- 
ham, *'My brother, according to my opinion, we must 
"depart together from this Monastery" ; and the bless- 
ed Abraham answered and said unto him, "I have 
''already lived for a period of thirteen years in the 
''Monastery of Beth* 'Abhe, and I now wish to de- 
"part from this holy Monastery. And now, [Page 43] 
"what thou hast said is the will of our Lord, and 
"[it springeth] from the operation of Divine Grace. 
"It is not for me to answer thee a word or to trans- 
"gress what thou hast said; the will is thine, Abba, 
"and [to do] the service of thee is mine". 

Chapter VII. 

<Pf tl^e cleaving of t^e I?oly man mar Tlbvaljam of 25etl7 
't&bl^e to tl)e l^oly man [Jlabban /^dvtniib]. 

Now from this time Abba Abraham and Rabban 
Hormizd clave each to the other, and thereupon Abba 

' The Monastery of B^th *Abhe seems to have been situated about 
twenty miles to the south-east of Al-K6sh, and to have stood at no 
great distance from the Upper or Great Zabh, on its right bank. 
This important house was built on a mountain peak between two val> 
leys, through one of which flowed the Zabh, and through the other one 
of its tributaries ; the peak was well wooded, hence the name of the 
monastery "the house of the.forest". Beth 'Abhe was founded by Rab- 
ban Jacob, who was born at Lashom, and who was originally a monk in 
the Monastery of Mount Izla, about A. D. 595. At first the monks num- 
bered eighty, but about fifty years after they had increased to about 
three hundred ; among them were many famous men, and the mon- 
astery enjoyed a great reputation for learning and piety. About the 
middle of the IX th century evil times came upon the society, and the 
monastery was broken up, partly by the Kurds who plundered it, and 


Abraham made it to be a condition with Rabban 
Hormizd that he should become Rabban's disciple 
and servant | all the days of his life. And the bless- FoI. 34 b 
ed men remained in that Monastery three months 
after these words, and, one night, whilst they were 
still living there in this wise, the conclusion of the 
revelation which had been made unto Rabban Hor- 
mizd formerly was made known unto him by our 
Lord. Then being certain of the import of the vi- 
sion, he rose up with earnest purpose and went to 
Rabban M^r Y6zadhak, that pillar of light and fel- 
low-monk' of the blessed man, in order that he 
might reveal unto him what the Spirit had set in his 
mouth. And while he was knocking at the door, and 
was about to go into his presence, Rabban Mdr Y6- 
zadhak answered and said unto those who were sit- 
ting there with him, that is to say, John the Persian, 
and Ish6'-Sabhran, and Abba Adhona, and Rabban 
Shem*6n, the servant of the blessed man, "My be- 
"loved, I believe that Rabban Hormizd is to be a 
"member' of our following, and that he will have a 
"portion with us in our departure from this place/' 
Now whilst the[se] word[s] were in his mouth — for 
so it is related concerning the blessed man, behold, 
Rabban Hormizd knocked at the door of the cell. 
And Rabban Yozadhak commanded Rabban Shem^on 
his servant to open the door to him, and when he 

partly by the Government which laid heavy fiscal burdens upon it. 
The history of the monastery and of its Abbots and others will be 
found in my Book of GavemorSy London, iSgS. 

* Literally, "son of the sack". 

^ Literally, "son of our following". 



Foi. 35 a had entered in, | and they had been blessed by each 
other and had seated themselves, Rabban Yozadhak 
began to say unto Rabban Hormizd with a smile, 
*'Dost thou desire to live in the desert, O son of 
^'Persians? The Holy Spirit hath already long ago' 
* 'spoken in this wise unto thee, [Page 44] and this 
"night hath He completed the matter; rise up then, 
"O ye my beloved ones, that we may depart unto 
"the place whereunto His will hath summoned and 
"called us." And when the night had come, they all 
rose up together with one purpose and with com- 
mon agreement, and with one Apostolic love, that 
they might depart and dwell in the Monastery of 
Abba Abraham of Risha,' because it was exceed- 
ingly suitable for the cultivation of the life of ascetic 
contemplation for which they had been earnestly long- 
ing a great length of time. 

Let the mouths of the reader and of those who 
hearken [unto him] be sanctified by [the mention of] 
these beloved names: — The holy man Rabban Mar Y6- 
zidhak, John the Persian, Rabban Mar Isho'-Sabhran, 
Rabban Mar Hormizd, AbbH Adhoni, Abba Shem'on, 
and Abba Abraham, the disciple of the holy man. 
This holy and divine band, this company of fiery 
men who were filled with the grace which is in 

Foi. 35 h Christ, with one soul and with one | spirit armed 
themselves and went forth from among those angelic 
ranks, and came in a body with the holy angels who 
were their guides unto this Monastery [of Abba Abra- 

' Literally, "from the height of days". 

2 The Monastery of Risha is often mentioned in Nestorian lite- 
rature, but its exact position is unknown. 


ham of Risha]; and they found it to be suitable for 
the cultivation of the ascetic life, and there each of 
them prepared for himself a small place which was 
only large enough to hold his body, and alone with 
God they cultivated the service of the holy angels. 
Now they lived there in the neighbourhood of that 
Monastery for a period of seven years in one unity 
of divine purpose, for the believing folk who dwelt 
in the country of Marga were taking care of them, 
and from time to time that which was necessary for 
the support of their lives was collected by their 
steward, Rabban lsh6'- Sabhran, a man of labours' 
and a shrine of divine humility, who with meek low- 
liness yoked himself beneath the chariot of the ser- 
vice of these holy fathers. And they toiled the whole 
week sitting apart each by himself in a place which 
was secluded, and they neither spoke to nor [Page 45] 
saw each other until sunset on the Eve of the Sabbath 
Day, when they gathered themselves together and 
kept vigil the whole night, and performed a divine | 
and glorious service, and then they partook with re- foI- 36 a 
joicing of the Divine Mysteries of the Body and 
Blood of Christ, after which each of them returned 
to his place, and their soul[s] were filled with the 
grace of the Holy Spirit. And the steward Isho- 
Sabhran used to give unto each one of them that 
which was sufficient for his need for the [whole] 
week, and he used to bake bread and set it upon 
the common table, and each of them would then 

^ L e., the man of business who looked after the temporal wel- 
fare of the monks. 



take thereof whatsoever he wished and which was ne- 
cessary for his use and need. Now their drink came 
from the great spring (^r, fountain) which they had 
there, and Rabban Ish6*-Sabhran used to take an 
earthenware pitcher, and fill it with water, and carry 
it and set it before the cells of the blessed men day 
by day. Whensoever there came unto them a man 
who was sick, or one who was vexed by Satan, or 
one suffering from any kind of sickness whatsoever, 
Rabban Ish6*-Sabhran the steward would bring him 
unto the holy man Rabban Hormizd, when Rabban 
would lay his right hand upon him, and our Lord 
Foi. 36 b would heal him of whatsoever disease | he had. Now 
Rabban possessed this gift in a more abundant mea- 
sure than all the [other] fathers who were there, and 
in a smaller or greater degree his fame went forth 
into every part of that country. 

And a certain man from the city of Baladh' came 
there, whose eyes had been made blind by the vex- 
ing of the Evil One, and he could not see ; this man 
did Isho'-Sabhran receive into the community, and he 
gave him relief And after he had been living with 
him for a day tsho'-Sabhran took the blind man and 
carried him and set him, being blind and sightless, 
before the cell of Rabban Hormizd, whilst he him- 
self stood opposite ; now [Page 46] the coming of the 
blind man unto him was not hidden from the holy 
man. First of all he prayed over him, and then he 
prepared a washing of his cross,^ and when the blind 

' I. e., Eski Mawsel. 

^ /. e., he prepared a lotion of the water in which he had washed 
his cross. 


man drew nigh unto the door of his cell, with a 
simple eye which was guileless of fraud and lying 
hypocrisy he brought forth the water in which he 
had washed the cross and went out to receive and 
to meet the blind man. Then he laid his right hand 
upon his eyes, and said, "O our Lord Jesus Christ, 
*'Who didst open the eyes of Timai, the son of Ti- 
"mai,* and didst light the lamp of our manhood by 
*'the brilliant rays of light of Thy Godhead ; O Lord, 
"Thou didst call Thyself | the 'Light of the world', and foI. 37^ 
"Thou art [the Light], and through Thy light, O 
"Christ, the righteous men who have lived from ge- 
"neration to generation have received light, I have 
"become Thy servant, and I forget that I am a 
"sinner. Thy love hath stirred me up to ask Thee for 
"that which is greater than what I and the fathers 
"of olden time have [asked before]. O my Lord, Thou 
"w^ast with the [fathers] of olden time, and Thou didst 
"cleave unto those who came after them,^ and Thou 
"didst not cease from or have disregard unto the 
"company [of the fathers] of the last times, be not 
"Thou then unmindful of me, a sinner, but for the 
"sake of this man who is blind and who standeth in Thy 
"presence, have regard unto me, a sinner, who taketh 
"refuge in Thy Name, that Thy Holy Name may 
"through me and through him be glorified, now, and 
"always, and for ever and ever. Amen." 

And when he had finished his prayer and had said 
'Amen', he laid his fingers upon the eyes of the blind 

' /. e,f Bartimaeus. 

2 Literally, "the middle ones". 


man in the Name of Jesus the Nazarene, and sud- 
denly his eyes were opened and he saw; and Rab- 
ban fastened the windows* and door of his cell, and 
he sat down in the restfulness of his soul. Now the 
[man who had been] blind stood at his door being 
doubtful in mind as to whether in very truth the light 
of the world had been seen by him or not, and he 
was rubbing his eyes thinking that peradventure it 
was a deceitful vision. Then Rabban Ish6*-Sabhran 
Foi. 37 b who had been | standing opposite to him saw that 
the eyes of the blind man were opened, and he 
drew nigh unto him with rejoicing and with grateful 
thanks unto our Lord, saying, "Glory be unto Thee, 
"O our Lord Jesus [Page 47] Christ, Thou beloved 
"Son, Who hast not crushed out from Thy Church 
"the salt of excellence, but in all generations hast 
"established for Thyself pledges of the redemption 
"of the children of men, for in this age, which is 
"wanting in grace. Thou hast placed for us as a 
"light of brilliant splendour, Rabban Hormizd, through 
"whom Thou hast in Thy grace this day given light 
"unto the eyes of this blind man." And the man who 
had been blind and Isho'- Sabhran departed together 
glorifying God, and they were marvelling at this 
wonderful thing. 

And again on another occasion they brought unto 
him a certain man from the village of Marga who 
had been bitten by a mad dog; now he was in a 
most grievous state through the pain, and, behold, 
by reason of the anguish thereof he was gnawing 

' Literally, "eyes". 


his own flesh with his mouth. He was, moreover, 
dripping with blood, and he stank horribly by rea- 
son of the foul and filthy matter which was running 
over his body, and he was well nigh out of | his foI. 38 ^i 
mind; he was unable to eat bread or to drink water, 
and no man dared to draw nigh unto him lest the 
poison of the disease should straightway fly into 
another body. Now when the steward Rabban Isho- 
Sabhran saw the man's pain {pry sickness), he had 
pity and compassion upon him, and he took him and 
brought him to the cell of Rabban, and said unto 
him, "Sit thou here until the holy man cometh forth 
"to heal thee''; and he removed himself from the 
place where the man was and took up his stand 
opposite. Now unto the wonderful old man Rab- 
ban Hormizd Christ had revealed concerning that 
afflicted one, and the blessed man made ready a 
washing of his cross, and was waiting until perad- 
venture the sick man should fall asleep, when he 
would then be able to go forth and lay his right 
hand upon him without his seeing him, and he might 
be made whole. And having thus waited for a space 
of three hours, and the pain not permitting the man 
to fall [Page 48] asleep, the blessed man prayed over 
him from his cell, and the Lord cast a slumber upon 
him and he slept. Then the old man went forth from 
his cell and drew nigh unto him that was smitten {pry 
afflicted), | and he sprinkled over him the water of foI. 38 b 
the washing, and said, "O our Lord Jesus Christ, 
"Thou living Medicine of our miserable race. Thou 
"Good and Merciful Physician, heal Thou by Thy 
"grace the sickness of this man, that Thy Holy Name 


"may be glorified in Thy Holy Church, Amen/' And 
Rabban H6rmizd left him and went to his cell. Then 
Rabban Isho'- Sabhran drew nigh unto the smitten 
man and called unto him to rise up out of the sick- 
ness in which he was lying, whereupon the body of 
the smitten man was relieved, and he obtained ease 
and rest from that cruel sickness through the prayers 
of Rabban Hormizd. And Rabban Isho'-Sabhran car- 
ried him into his own habitation and took care of 
him for two days, and he was healed wholly. 

And again on another occasion they brought there 
a certain woman from the city of Mawsel who was 
wholly covered with leprosy; and when they had 
brought her up to the cell of the holy man, he was 
filled with wrath at her kinsfolk, and said unto them, 
"Why have ye brought a woman unto monks in the 
"desert? For woman is a snare of Satan unto ascetics, 
"and [the occasion of] a fall, from which there is no 
"rising up, unto those who run in this racecourse | 
Foi. 39^ "after the manner of the Spirit; ye should not have 
"dared to bring a woman unto the congregation of 
"ascetics, for a woman hath no power to enter into 
"the habitation thereof." Then the people who brought 
that woman held their peace and dared not to say 
a word before the blessed man, but they entreated 
him to have mercy upon them, and to visit them in 
his prayers, saying, "We have borne and suffered 
"the toil of all this journey from the city of Mawsel 
"unto thee, and now we are dismissed [Page 49] by 
"thee without any benefit; accept now our persons, 
"and forgive thou the folly of thy servants for Thy 
"Lord's sake." Now when the holy man saw the 


penitence of their minds, and the humility of their 
souls he had mercy upon them, and he made a wash- 
ing of the kendnd of' his cross, and gave [it] unto 
them that they might anoint the woman and all her 
body therewith. And as soon as they had done ac- 
cording to what the blessed man had commanded 
them, and had anointed her body, suddenly she be- 
came healed completely of the leprosy which had 
filled all her body, and all the places which had cast 
their leprosy became covered with hair. Then her 
kinsfolk glorified God, and departed to their houses 
in peace and in | great joy. foI. 39^ 

And the blessed man Rabban Hormizd continued 
to occupy himself with the matters of his life of con- 
templation and asceticism, and he served his Lord, 
and there came upon him a revelation from our Lord 
concerning a certain shepherd who was pasturing his 
flock in the mountain. Now, it fell out a certain time 
on a certain day that this shepherd poured some 
milk into a basin in which there were sops of bread, 
that he might eat of the meal which he had made 
ready, but for one reason or another he was pre- 
vented [from eating], and he left the repast which 
was in the basin uncovered, and rising up from it 
he departed to carry out the business which called 
him. And by one of the chances which happen in the 
world an evil and deadly poisonous snake accident- 
ally fell into the basin, and having shot forth his 
poison [into it] departed. Now when the shepherd 

' The r^lli> was either dust from the body of a saint or martyr, 
or from some holy place; Rabban mixed a little of it in water where- 
in he had washed his cross, and gave it to the sick and afflicted. 


came to his meal, having stretched forth his right 
hand, and put [food] into his mouth once or twice, 
suddenly the poison flew through his body, and he 
was violently convulsed by the severe pain in his 
person, and he died straightway. And because that 
shepherd was a good and merciful man, and was 
one who led a pure life and was a virgin, our Lord 
sent a revelation unto Rabban concerning him; and 
as soon as he had learned about him surely through 
the divine revelation, Rabban rose up straightway, 
Foi.40tj I and took his staff in his right hand, and left his 
cell, and [Page 50] departed. And he was meditating 
within his holy person, and saying, *Teradventure 
"I shall not be able to bear the toil of this long 
**journey", for the place where the shepherd lay was 
at a distance of sixty parasangs from the cell of the 
holy man. And as he was meditating in this wise 
within himself, behold, an angel came and stood be- 
fore him, and by means of the spiritual breath of 
his lightness he bore Rabban along and set him 
down by the side of the shepherd, for whose sake 
he had endured this labour ; and he saw that the 
shepherd was dead, and that there was not a breath 
of life in him, and that his sheep were scattered 
abroad on the mountain concerning which a revela- 
tion had been made unto him. And the Lord hear- 
kened unto the voice of the prayer of His servant, 
and the soul of the shepherd came back within him. 
Then Rabban made a washing of the heudnd^ of his 
cross, and gave thereof to the shepherd to drink. 

' See above, p. 73. 


and he anointed his body therewith, and the poison 
was driven out therefrom by means of the prayers 
of the holy man. Then the shepherd straightened 
himself and sat down , being .in his right mind , and 
he was giving thanks and praising the grace of our 
Lord ; and he related unto Rabban what had befallen 
him through the poison which he had received from 
the food, and how his soul | had departed from his Foi.40^ 
body in a swift and violent manner. [And he said 
unto Rabban,] "I make known that I had become 
**remote from this fleeting life, and I know and am 
"certain that if the Lord had not sent thee I should 
"never have come back from the captivity of death, 
"for I was lying in the depths of the devouring 
"Sheol. But with what recompense can I reward the 
"Lord in return for all His acts of grace to me, ex- 
"cept that I offer my soul as an offering on my be- 
"half unto Him that hath restored me anew unto 
"life?" Then he lifted up his eyes and saw his sheep 
which were separated and scattered upon the tops 
of those hills, and Rabban made a sign unto him 
that he should gather together his sheep, so he took 
his staff in his hand, and went down after his sheep 
to gather them together. And the angel of the Lord 
lifted up Rabban, and in one brief moment he bore 
him back and set him down in his cell. 

Now this wonderful thing was not hidden from 
[Page 51] the eyes of the seraphic watchman Rabban 
Mar Yozadhak, for in that same night in which Rab- 
ban came from the shepherd the holy man Mar Y6- 
zddh^k met him in his spiritual cell, and said unto 
him, "Blessed art thou, O Rabban Hormizd, for by 


"means of thee the shepherd who was poisoned hath 
"returned to life. It shall happen unto thee that by 

Foi.4ia"the mere utterance | of thy name poison shall be 
"driven forth from its sovereignty, and no mad dog 
"shall gird at thee in the dominion of the mention 
"of thy name." And when that pillar of light Rab- 
ban Mar Yoztdhak had said these [words] concern- 
ing him prophetically, he left him straightway, and 

Now the beck of the Lord by His will travelleth 
and journeyeth with His servants, and His everlasting 
will drew nigh and came, [and ordained] that His 
athletes should depart from that place of Rabban 
Abraham of Risha unto another which His will had 
foreseen. And it came to pass that when the day of 
the congregation of the First Day of the week had 
drawn nigh, and these fathers had gathered together 
thereunto, according to what I have said above, and 
they had received the Holy Mysteries, and had sat 
down together in a body to participate with glad- 
ness in the breaking of the sacramental bread, the 
steward Rabban Isho'-Sabhran spake before them, 
saying, "Ye know, O fathers, that the spring which 
"we used to have here, the waters whereof used to 
"flow in great abundance — now water is the [chief] 
"need of our life in the body — hath through Divine 
"agency dried up entirely, [and that the place there- 
"of] hath become even like parched ground through 
"which water hath never flowed since the days when 

Foi.4it**it was created." | Then Rabban Hormizd answered 
and spake before the fathers, saying, "O my holy 
"fathers, hearken ye unto what I shall say before 


"you. As long as the will of the Lord had pleasure 
"in our congregation which was in this place , this 
"spring which hath dried up flowed for us all alike; 
"but now that the Lord hath willed that some of us 
"should depart from this place, the flow of this 
"spring is not [sufficient] for us all, but only [Page 52] 
"for those who shall live and remain here." And 
that seraph of flesh and cherub of earth, Rabban 
Mir Yozadhak, answered and spake before them, 
saying, "Even thus saith the Holy Spirit, I Yoza- 
"dhak, and Abba Adhona, and Abba Shem'on, will 
"go unto Mount Kardo ; and Rabban Hormizd and 
"Abba Abraham shall go up unto the Mount of BSth 
"'Edhrai;* and Rabban Isho'-Sabhran and John the 
"Persian shall bring their days to an end here merit- 
"oriously, and the spring shall return to its natural 
"manner. But rise up now, O my beloved, and let 
"each one of us direct his steps unto the place where 
"it is pleasing unto the grace of our Lord [for him 
"to be]." And according to what they had proclaim- 
ed beforehand , even so did they ; and Rabban 
Yozadhak first of all gave the salutation of peace 
unto his companions , | and took away with him foI. 42 a 
Abba Adh6na, and Abba Shem'on ; and Rabban 
Hormizd himself also took with him Abba Abraham, 
and they gave the salutation of peace unto the 


' /. e,y Ba Idri, \Sy^ ^i a district in the neighbourhood of 
Ma*althaya ; see Hoffmann, Ausziigty p. 197 ff. 


Chapter VEQ. 

<Df tl?e reparation of tl:^e fatlycvo from eac^ otl^er, anb of 
tl)t coming of Habban [4)^t*mi5&] unto t^io place. 

Now when Rabban Isho'- Sabhran and John the 
Persian saw their companions separating from them 
the parting from their fellows was very grievous unto 
them ; and they all went forth in a body , and ac- 
companied them on their way for a distance of one 
stage, and they gave each other the salutation of 
peace a second time amid holy kisses and sorrowful 
tears, and then they parted from each other, and 
[went] unto the places which the will of the Lord 
had ordained for them. Then Rabban Isho'-Sabhran 
and John the Persian returned unto their places, ac- 
cording to the prophetical words which the holy man 
had uttered concerning them, and they turned aside 
to the spring that they might see what had happened 
unto it, and as soon as they arrived there they found 
that [the pool] was full of water to the brim accord- 
ing to its former state. And they rejoiced with an 
exceedingly great joy, and there, in the Monastery 
[Page 53] of Risha, they brought to an end the course 
of their labours in a prosperous manner. 

Now Rabban Yozadhak took his companions and 
went to the mountains of Kardo, and our Rabban 
F0I.426 Mar I Hormizd took Abba Abraham, and they went 
together to the Mountain of the village of B^th 
*Edhrai ; and they found in that mountain a small 
cave with a rill of water in front of it, and there 
they took up their abode. Now Abba Abraham had 


remained only three days there when there came 
upon them a revelation from our Lord that he should 
depart from Rabban Hormizd, and should also go to 
the work which had been set apart for him [to do] 
by Divine Grace ; so Rabban Abraham went forth 
from that place, and came and founded a monastery 
for himself in the country of Nineveh, and the ru- 
mour of his arrival went forth into all that country. 
And the village of believers , Al-K6sh , ' was the 
one which was nigh unto that mountain wherein the 
holy man Rabban Hdrmizd had taken up his abode, 
and the people thereof were the first to go up unto 
this holy man and to be blessed by him. And by 
his prayers he delivered them^ from their diseases 
and sicknesses, and they rejoiced in him with an ex- 
ceedingly great joy because God had held their vil- 
lage worthy for Rabban Hormizd to be its neighbour, 
and a sojourner therein. Then they answered all to- 
gether and said unto him, **Take up thine abode in 
**our neighbourhood, O Rabban, | for we love thee, i'oi.43^ 
**and thine arrival in our district is acceptable unto 
"us even as that of an angel of God. And if thou 
*'wishest to build a Monastery for thyself the carry- 
"ing out of the plan and the cost thereof shall be 
*'ours. Behold, we are all thy sons, and men who 
"are ready to be obedient unto thy will and unto 
"thy holy fatherhood, and whatsoever thy greatness 
"commandeth thy servants we [will do],, according 

' A village which lies about thirty miles to the north of Mawsel. 
* Literally, "and he visited them in his prayers from their 
diseases and sicknesses." 


"to thy will and for the fulfilment of thy desire which 
"is one with that of our Lord ; and we will neither 
"cease nor be restrained from [the performance of] 
"anything which shall be for thy gratification." Now 
when Rabban had hearkened unto them up to this 
point, he gave them grateful thanks, [Page 54] and 
blessed them ; and he provided them with his bless- 
ings for their journey, and gave unto them a hendnd'- 
and dismissed them, and they went to their village 
rejoicing, and giving thanks unto and glorifying God, 
Who had made their village to be in the neighbour- 
hood of this holy man. Now Rabban Hormizd was a 
kinsman of that stone which was laid in Jerusalem 
upon which whosoever fell was broken in pieces ; and 
Uke that stone did Rabban Hormizd become in the 
mountains of B^th 'Edhrai. He was life, and joy, and 
gladness unto the people of Al-K6sh, but a stumbling- 
block, and a source of grief which leaped upon the 
accursed Monastery of Bezkin ; he was anguish and 
Foi. 43^ a terror unto the heretic village of Arsham, | and a 
tribulation and an affliction unto the wasted tavern* 
of Bezkin of the teachers of heresy. Now at that 
time the village of Arsham was full of heretics,^ but 
after a certain time the governor of the city of 

' See above, p. 73. 

^ Our author applies this insulting name to the Monastery of 
Bezkin meaning to indicate that the monks there had turned their 
house into a public guest-house where any wayfarer could obtain 
meat and drink on payment, and that they were careless as to 
the spiritual life which monks ought to lead. The site of the 
Monastery of Bezkin is unknown. 

* Literally, "the village of Arsham was all heretics (i*. tf., Jaco- 
bites)." Arsham was situated near Al-Kosh, 


Mawsel drove out the inhabitants that were therein 
from the neighbourhood of the holy man, and believing 
Christians from the country of Hazar ^ came, and they 
live there at this time. And Mar 'Abhd-Isho*, Bishop 
of Beth Nuhderan,^ came unto our Monastery, and our 
monks went down with him to the village of Arsham, 
and they consecrated a church [there] with vigil, and 
with Psalms, and with hymns of praise, and behold, the 
village is a habitation of orthodox Christians unto this 
day. And the believers of Al-Kosh and the people who 
were of the same faith were glad, and they rejoiced 
in the coming of the holy old man, Rabban Hormizd. 
Now there was in that country a certain village 
which was situated [at a distance of] about two or 
three parasangs from the Monastery, and its name 
was Beth Kopa,^ and, as soon as the people thereof 
heard of the coming of the holy old man Rabban 
Hormizd to that mountain of Beth 'Edhraye, they 
took their sick folk and went up to the blessed man | 
that they might see him, and might also be blessed Foi.44a 
by him, and also that he might lay his hand upon 
them and they might be healed. And it came to 
pass that one of the sick folk who were with them, 
whilst he was yet at a distance [Page 55] of a journey 
of one stage from where the blessed man was, was 
overcome by the severity of his sickness and died on 
the road, and the company of the believing folk were 

' A district near Mawsel. 

* A Nestorian Church province which extended from Eski- 
Mawsel to Jabal al-Judi ; see Hoflfmann, Auszuge^ 208 — 216. 

* A village which lay between Batnaye and Tell Uskuf on the 
road between Mawsel and Al-K6sh. 



deeply pained on his account. Now they wished to 
bury him by the roadside, before they went up to 
the holy man, but his parents began to curse and to 
swear at them, saying, "They shall not bury him 
"until Rabban shall see him and then they may bury 
"him". And when they had arrived at the cave of 
the holy man they all went in, and were blessed by 
him, and, before they could tell him the cause of the 
death of the sick man who had died with them on 
the road, the blessed man himself said unto them, 
"Come ye in peace, O my children, for ye decided 
"rightly within yourselves not to bury the dead man 
"who died with you on the road until Rabban should 
"see him. And now, my brethren, that ye have seen 
"me, bring unto me the dead man who died with 
"you on the road." And as soon as they had brought 
the dead man and set him before him, Rabban 
Foi. 44 b Hormizd stood up straightway before | our Lord in 
prayer, and made supplication with sad and bitter 
tears that, peradventure, the soul of that dead man 
might come to life again. Now after his prayer, 
which [continued] for one hour, during which time 
he was making entreaty and supplication, God hear- 
kened unto the petition of the holy old man forth- 
with, and he made the soul of the young man to 
go back into him speedily ; and that young man 
who had just been raised from the dead rubbed his 
eyes like one who had just risen from sleep, and he 
asked for water to drink. Then Rabban made a 
washing of water [from his cross] mixed with some 
holy dust,' and gave it unto him to drink, saying 

' See above, page 73. 


unto him, "Fear thou not, O my son, for thou shalt 
"not die now, but thou shalt live for a season, and 
"then thou shalt die." Now when the company of 
believing men saw the wonderful thing which Rabban 
had wrought, they glorified God and gave thanks 
unto Him because, in His mercy. He had made them 
worthy to see Rabban and the miracles which were 
wrought by him, and also to be blessed by him. 
And those multitudes fell upon the holy [Page 56] old 
man and kissed his hands and his feet, and they 
rubbed the dust which was under his feet upon their 
faces, and they also carried it away as a hendnd^ and 
as a heavenly | gift. Then Rabban rebuked them FoI. 45 a 
[and drove them] from him, saying, "If ye shew your- 
"selves unto me in this wise I will depart from you, 
"and ye shall never again see me here." Now when 
they had heard these [words] from him, they ceased 
from thrusting themselves upon him, and then he 
prayed over them, and gave them a hendndy and dis- 
missed them that they might go unto their village 
in peace. So they departed and spread abroad 
the report of him in all the country round about 

And when these people heard [thereof], every man 
carried his sick folk [unto him], those who were 
possessed of devils, and the lame, and the blind, 
and those who were vexed with the long-continued 
sickness of fever, and those who were smitten with 
diseases of every kind. [Then were seen*] women 

' See above, p. 73. 

* Some words seem to have dropped out of the text here. 



who had been barren suckling children, and dead 
men rising from the dead, and those who had been 
grievously vexed relieved, and the poor having the 
Gospel preached unto them, and devils going forth 
[from men and women] and proclaiming the greatness 
of Jesus the Nazarene, and lepers being cleansed, 
and prophecies receiving fulfilment by His grace. 
For the whole of the people of the country which 
was round about him poured forth like a flood, and 
hastened and went up to this advocate of the truth, 
and by means of him they received perfect healing 
from God. Now he merely laid his right hand upon 
Foi. 45 b them, I and pronounced over them [the name] "Jesus 
"Christ", and his holy odour used to heal every 
[kind of] sickness and disease of any man what- 
soever who was brought before him. He opened the 
spiritual storehouse of heavenly treasures which had 
been given unto him by his Lord, and he began to 
distribute the spiritual money of his Lord among his 
companions, and he who was in very truth a good 
and wise treasurer divided it equally [among all] 
without accepting the person of any man ; [Page 57] 
and his Lord established him over the members of 
His house that he might give unto them sustenance 
in its proper season. Blessed indeed art thou, O old 
man, yea, blessed with all heavenly blessings, for 
thou didst break the whole loaf of the perfection of 
thy soul without sparing, and didst set it upon the 
table of the spiritual church, and those who were 
an hungered and were poor ate their fill therefrom. 
Now when the Satanic tavern of Bezkin, that mon- 
astery of wickedness, saw this merchant of the house 


of God, this rich man who enriched his poor com- 
panions, and who held the sword of the Spirit in his 
right hand and destroyed the ranks and legions of 
heresy, they were jealous and became filled with a 
mighty envy of the righteous man, even as Cyril' of 
the just man Nestorius.^ In this manner | their hearts Foi.46^ 
became hardened in tumultuous rebellion, and they 
began to burrow in the ground of the hearts of 
kings and governors after the manner of Cyril in 
the matter of the righteous man Nestorius ; but the 
vexations which our Nestorius bore were more in • 
number than the evils which the Greek Nestorius I 
endured at the hands of Cyril. 

Chapter IX. 

<Df t^e (liripee xoljid^ TXabban ^bvmlib receit^eb willingly 

from ttje t^ereticd. 

And it came to pass on a certain night that there 
gathered together and went forth from among the 
"shaved"^ monks of Bezkin ten men who were mighty 
in body, and they came to the holy man Rabban 
Hormizd, and they entered into his cave, where they 

^ /. e,f Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria, who was enthroned A. D. 
412 ; he died A. D. 444. His great dispute with Nestorius began in 428, 
and he maintained with great fervour and zeal that the Son of Mary 
was the Son of God, t\ e., the Divine Co-essential Son. 

^ He was Patriarch of Constantinople from A. D. 428 to A. D. 431. 
He proclaimed, "Let no man call Mary the Mother of God, for Mary 
was but a woman, and it is impossible that God should be born of a 
woman." After a life of persecution and misery he died about A. D. 454. 

^ The Jacobite tonsure is in the form of a cross, some hair being 
shaved from the back, front, and each side of the head. 


found the holy man occupied in prayer unto his 
Lord. And those workers of iniquity, who were like 
Satan their father, fell upon him, and they beat him 
unmercifully with dreadful blows of terrible cruelty 
until the skin of his whole body hung down from 
him in strips ; and the evil men left him lying [there] 
in torments of pain, and departed unto their mon- 
astery, thinking that he was actually dead ; but the 
[Page 58] Divine Grace of our Lord had protected 
him in a providential manner, and had not allowed 
them to kill the holy man outright. 

[O Rabban Hormizd,] through the fights with devils 
and the blows which they inflicted upon thee in thy 
early manhood , and through the tribulations and 
stripes which came upon thee in thine old age, thou 
didst crown thyself with the qualities of perfection ! 
Foi. 46^ And the blessed man was lying in his cave like a 
murdered man who remained unburied, but his holy 
soul was rejoicing within [him], for both in his early 
manhood and in his old age he had suffered death 
for his Lord's sake day by day, and each day alike 
ceaselessly. Now this evil thing which the monks of 
Bezkin had done unto Rabban was not hidden from 
the ears of the believing villagers of Al-K6sh. And 
there was in the village of Al-K6sh a certain man 
[who was a friend] of Rabban, and his name was 
Gabriel, and he was descended from the old inhabi- 
tants' of Persia; he was exceedingly rich, and he 
possessed multitudes of slaves and innumerable pos- 

' /. ^., his family was one which had held landed property near 
Al-Kosh for a very considerable time. 


sessions, and very many flocks and herds. And this 
believing old man Gabriel had taken upon himself 
to minister unto the needs of the blessed man at the 
whole and sole cost of himself all the days of his 
life which he would live upon the earth. And the 
Lord had blessed him greatly, and had enriched him 
exceedingly through the prayers of Rabban, even as 
He blessed Abraham, and he waxed exceedingly 
great. Now this man Gabriel used to ride upon his 
mule daily, and go up to Rabban, and minister unto | 
all his wants, and such things as he lacked he sup- Foi^ya 
plied unto him. And when Gabriel had gone unto 
him according to his wont, and had enquired con- 
cerning his well-being, and had also been blessed by 
him, he perceived that the condition' of the holy 
man was different that day from what it had been 
the day before, and he also saw [the marks of] stripes 
upon the holy old man ; and he had never on any 
day seen him as he then saw him. Then the believ- 
ing Gabriel answered and said unto him, "Father, 
"what are these marks which I see upon thee? This 
"day thou art different from what I have ever [Page 59] 
"seen thee before." And Rabban said unto him with 
a smile, "O Gabriel, knowest thou not that those 
"who enter into a war give blows and receive them?" 
Now Gabriel thought that it was the devils who had 
been beating him, for that believing man was well 
aware of the strife and battle which Rabban was 
always waging with Satan and the evil spirits, and 
therefore he desisted from making any further en- 

^ Literally, "affairs". 


quiries into those matters ; and when he had made 
an end of and finished his ministration unto him, he 
devoted himself to attending unto his worldly affairs. 
And as he was walking in that mountain and making 
Foi. 47 6 enquiries concerning his flocks, and directing | the 
pasturing of his sheep, the shepherd saw that Gabriel, 
the owner of the flocks, was sad, and he said unto 
him, **Doth my lord permit me to speak unto him ? 
**What is the cause of thy sadness ? I know not, but 
"perad venture thieves have fallen upon thee and 
''plundered thy possessions, or perhaps a highway 
"robber hath come upon thee ; tell me [what aileth 
"thee]." Then the believing Gabriel answered and 
said unto his shepherd, "No [thieves] have plundered 
"my goods, and no man hath fallen upon me. There 
"is only one thing which giveth me pain ; I have 
"seen that my Rabban hath many stripes [upon him, 
"and that they have been inflicted] by strangers, but 
"I know not who hath smitten him." The shepherd 
answered and said unto Gabriel, "If I tell thee what 
"hath happened unto Rabban what wilt thou do for 
"me ?" And the shepherd said unto him, "Ten monks 
"from the monastery of Bezkin beat the old man 
"Rabban the whole night long and inflicted tortures 
"upon him." Now when Gabriel heard these things 
from his shepherd he blazed up with wrath and anger, 
and forthwith he mounted his mule, and in his wrath 
directed his way straight to Rabban that he might 
learn the truth from him. And as soon as he had 
gone into the presence of Rabban, who blessed him, 
before he could speak a word with Rabban, Rabban 
answered and said unto Gabriel, "Peace, Gabriel, 


*thou art laden with the zeal and spirit of Elijah, Foi.48^ 
*and thou dost meditate spoiling me of my divine 
Equalities." Then Gabriel said unto him, "I have 
learned concerning thee from my shepherd, and from 
'him have I heard an evil matter which hath made 
*me exceedingly wroth, for he told me [Page 59] that 
*the monks of Bezkin have been evilly entreating and 
*beating thee, and on this account I am wroth. But 
*this very day I will smite the monastery with fire, 
*and I will make it a desert mound unto the dwellers 
'therein." And the blessed man answered and said 
unto him, *'0 Gabriel, cease from these things, and 
'leave the avenging of me unto our Lord ; for the 
'time of their destruction is nigh, and that which is 
'about to come upon them hasteneth ; let it not hap- 
'pen through thy pure hands, but by the hands of 
'God, Who is my Helper, and Who knoweth my 
'paths. If thou wouldst seek to avenge me, and if 
'thou art jealous on my behalf, avenge me first of 
'all upon the company of devils, and the prince of 
'devils, and the evil spirits who have dominion over 
'the air. Now in this thing I have reason to boast, 
'that is to say, in the vexings which spring from 
'devils, and fiends, and evil spirits, for the vexings 
'caused by devils, and the patient endurance of the 
'heathen constitute the riches of holy men. And if 
'thou wouldst strip me of these things, O Gabriel, I 
'should not be able to dwell in thy neighbourhood. 
'But now, I abide patiently for a little, and thou shalt foI. 48 b 
'see what thou wouldst desire for my sake, for the 
'Lord shall fight for you if ye will only hold your 
'peace." And the blessed man , by means of his 


gentle and gracious words, quenched the embers of 
the fire of the zeal of the believing man, and Gabriel 
returned to his village with his soul filled with tran- 
quillity, and peace, and with love towards [his] neigh- 
bour, through the prayers of Rabban ; but he laughed 
over the end and the destruction of the monks of 
Bezkin, who ceased not from nor repented of their 
attack upon Rabban. But their father Satan gave 
them knowledge by means of the following act of 

Chapter X. 

<l>f tl)t ^avlot of 25e5Pin, anb of f)tv btitiQ vaiftb to life 

aftei: btatf) by TXabban. 

There was a certain woman who was a harlot, and 
she belonged unto one of the sons of the polluted 
tavern [Page 6i] of Bezkin, which hath had the name 
"Monastery of Bezkin'' given unto it ; the monks there- 
of were "shorn" outwardly, but in secret they were 
workers of wickedness, and they wished to make our 
Rabban an associate with them in the business of their 
unclean harlotry. Now from among those "shorn"' 
men there were banded together unclean men who, 
either more or less, formed a company of about five 
monks who performed the works of whoredom in a 
shameful way and after the manner of dogs, and 
Foi. 49 a moreover, without modesty, and improperly, ] and con- 
trary to nature, they behaved with lasciviousness in 

^ The writer of this life, a Nestorian, uses this word in an oppro- 
brious manner. 


the manner of the men of Sodom like unto mad dogs, 
and they worked their deeds of wantonness and lust 
upon that woman, and upon others who were like 
unto her. Now therefore when the woman had tarried 
with them for a season, she conceived, and she gave 
birth unto a man child in that monastery, and those 
unto whom the woman belonged doubled their [evil] 
business in a manner which was more wicked than 
that which they had done at the first. For the five 
men, who had made the woman to conceive and had 
begotten the child by her, being afraid lest the gov- 
ernor of the country should get knowledge of them, 
and lest a decree of judgment which was commen- 
surate with their crime should go forth against them, 
acted cunningly with the harlot, and said unto her, 
"Rise thou up, and we will carry thee to the village 
**of Arsham, for thou canst not remain here with us 
"in the monastery on account of the child's cries, 
"and if by chance the governor get knowledge con- 
"cerning us he will destroy both thee and us in an 
"exceedingly cruel manner." Now when the harlot 
heard these [words] from those "shorn" men, she was 
exceedingly afraid, and said unto them, "Whatsoever 
"ye wish, that do." Then the five men rose up in 
that night, and they took the woman and her son, 
and went forth together, and they arrived at the 
lower part' of the cave of Rabban Hormizd ; and 
they lifted up | the harlot, and dashed her mercilessly Foi. 49 b 
upon the ground, and they took a knife and ripped 
her up, and they threw her against the opening of 

' I. e,f some place near the entnince to the cave. 


the cave of the holy man with her son, and departed. 
And straightway those abominable men ran and went 
into the city, and informed the governor, [Page 62] 
saying, "Behold, a certain woman from the village of 
"Arsham came unto Hormizd, who hath been thought 
"by you to be the righteous man of the Nestorians, 
"that that deceiver might pray for her, and because 
"there was no one with the woman he hath taken 
"her in fornication (God forbid ! '), and hath ravished 
"her, after which he slew both herself and her little 

And when the governor had heard these [words], 
he was greatly moved, and he went forth [to the 
mountain], together with crowds from the city, and 
when the governor and the multitude which was with 
him drew nigh unto the opening of Rabban's cave, 
they saw the woman who had been murdered, and 
her child lying upon her alive. Now the people of 
the village of Al-K6sh had also heard this rumour, 
and they were much distressed for Rabban's sake ; 
but they did not believe this report of him, for they 
were well acquainted with the perfection of that spi- 
ritual man. And they all armed themselves, and in a 
Foi. 50 a body they took their way | to go up unto the blessed 
man, and they and the soldiers of the governor ar- 
rived at the cave of the blessed man together ; and 
' they saw the governor who had been roused against 
Rabban heaping blasphemies and blows upon him. 
Then Gabriel of Al-K6sh, the servant of Rabban, 

' An exclamation which is due, probably, to a pious scribe ; the 
copyist to emphasize it has written QOjj in red. 


restrained the governor and said unto him, "It be- 
"fitteth not the governor to be thus hasty in such 
"difficult matters as these, for he should first of all 
"examine and enquire into both sides, and then let 
"the guilty one receive punishment ; and if one be in- 
"nocent he meriteth commendation/' And the gover- 
nor said unto Gabriel, "What testimony greater than 
"that which we have before us do we need ? For 
"the murdered woman lieth at the door of him that 
"slew her." Then Gabriel said unto him, "There is 
"a testimony greater than this which we may have, 
"that is to say, the murdered woman may bear 
"testimony against him that slew her, and accuse 
"him/' And the governor said, "If what thou hast 
"said can take place, there can be no greater testi- 
"mony/' Then Gabriel, who had confidence in the 
boldness of speech which Rabban possessed with his 
Lord, turned to Rabban, and said unto him, "Rise 
"up, now, [Page 63] and make entreaty unto thy Lord 
"that thy truth may be made manifest, and that the 
"falsehood of the liars may be made evident ;" and 
Rabban being full of grace and | humility, prayed foI. 50 6 
concerning this matter. And when he had ended his 
prayer, and had said "Amen'', he turned towards the 
dead body, and said unto it with his voice, "O dead 
"body, in the Name of Jesus the Nazarene, rise thou 
"up from thy murdered state, and accuse him that 
"slew thee ;" and at the word which Rabban spake 
to the murdered woman the spirit entered into her 
members, and she began to speak in a miraculous 
manner. Then Rabban drew nigh unto her, and said 
unto her, "Tell me truly, who was it that committed 


"sin with thee, and slew thee?" And the woman 
made answer unto Rabban, and said unto him in the 
presence of the governor and the crowd of people, 
that five of the monks of the Monastery of Bezkin 
had committed fornication with her in that monastery 
for a very long time, and finally, she declared for 
how long a period they had done so, "and then", 
said she, "they brought me unto this place by night, 
"and slew me. And I know nothing else except that 
"is thou who hast called me and hast roused me up 
"from the abysses of Sheol." Then she became silent, 
and she spake no more. 

And again Rabban answered and said unto the 
governor, "Take this child of the murdered woman 
"and set him upon thy knees"; and the governor 
Foi. 51 a did so. Then Rabban adjured | the child, and said 
unto him, "Unto thee I speak, O thou child who 
"hast no speech, and by the command of God I tell 
"thee to declare in the presence of all who thy father 
"is, for thy mother hath not declared it." And the 
Lord opened the mouth of the child, and he began 
to say thus: — "Of the seed of two of them have I 
"been fashioned in the womb of my mother" — now 
the child said that his mother had had five husbands 
in Bezkin, but that three of them were impotent, and 
he said that he came into the world through two of 
them — then the child became silent, and he spake no 
more. And when the crowd of people saw this won- 
derful thing, they all fell down before the feet of the 
blessed man, and they kissed them, [Page 64] saying, 
"Forgive us, O our father, for we have sinned, and 
"we have acted foolishly in condemning thee ; let the 


"string of thine anger return upon the bow, and let 
"it shoot the arrow through the heart of those who 
"have committed folly"; and they took away the 
dust of the cave of the blessed man as if it had 
been a heavenly gift. Then the people of Al-Kosh 
departed to their village, and brought a bier, and 
lifted up the dead body of the woman, and they 
carried it down from the mountain of Rabban, even 
as the holy man had commanded them, and they 
buried it at the foot of the mountain. | And Gabriel, FoL 51 6 
the true friend of Rabban, took the son of the woman, 
who was nine months old, and placed him where he 
would be suckled and reared, and when he had 
grown up, and had arrived at the age of twenty 
years, he became a monk in the monastery of Rab- 
ban ; and he excelled greatly in the glorious deeds 
of asceticism, and went out of this world with merit 

And the governor, and all the people who were 
with him and had seen the wonderful thing which 
Christ had wrought by the means of Rabban H6r- 
mizd, were filled with divine zeal, and they beat the 
"shorn" [monks of Bezkin] with hard blows, and they 
attacked the monastery and plundered everything 
which was therein. And the governor bound those 
who dwelt in the tavern of Satan tightly with bonds, 
and carried them away with him, and shut them up 
in the prison-house of the city of Baladh, and he wrote 
to the great governor of Mawsel [an account of] 
their crimes; but the great governor of Mawsel took 
a large bribe from the heretics who were in Baladh 
and in Mawsel, and commanded them to go back to 


their monastery, and to restore it to its former con- 
dition, according to their desire, without any human 

Foi. 52 a opposition. I Then these *'shorn" men returned to 
their monastery with rejoicing and gladness, for they 
had received much money from their fellow heretics 
in the city of Mawsel, and in Baladh, and they be- 
gan to build and to restore their wasted habitations, 
and they also set up pillar saints and made them 
to dwell therein; but behold, although the building 
was [re-]founded it prospered not. 

[Page 65] And Rabban Hormizd continued in his 
conversation with God, and he was always enjoying 
divine revelations, and he possessed no other thoughts 
except those of the admiration of divine things and 
of the gladness of the new world. On one occasion 
the mind of the holy old man carried him to the con- 
sideration of the heretics who were his neighbours, 
and of their error, when suddenly he saw standing 
by his side the angel of the Lord ; and as soon as 
the angel came unto him his soul was illumined with 
the knowledge of the most profound and sublime 
things, the condition and qualities of which the hu- 
man intelligence that can comprehend them with the 
understanding of its mind hath not been fashioned. 
Then that angel began to sing with the blessed man 
from the beginning of [the Psalms of] David even 
unto the end thereof, and the angel also raised the 
glorious canticle [which beginneth], "The living are 
"not able to hearken unto the words of his sweet- 
"ness ;" now in that hour the mercy of heaven aided 

Foi. 52 h Rabban, | or perhaps his soul would then have de- 
parted from his body. And when the angel had 


made an end of his canticle, he began to sing the 
following versicle : — 

"The mighty King of the celestial beings 

Built for Himself a palace {or, fortress) in the heights 

of heaven, 
And He gave unto it the name ^'Jerusalem 
Of the firstborn, [whose names] are written in the 

He fixed a ladder of life in His Church, 
And He drew up and made to ascend it His house- 
Unto the beautiful abode of spiritual beings, 
That they might become heirs of His kingdom." 

And when the versicle of the angel had come to an 
end, he smote one wing upon the other and ascended 
into heaven from the place where he had alighted ; 
and Rabban was filled with gladness, which was the 
similitude of the joy of the new world, through the 
divine operation which regardeth the happiness of the 
children of men. 

Chapter XI. 
^ow ©^aibtn, t^e fon of 'UPbe/ xom vaife& firom t^e &ea&. 


Now Shaibin the Arab, the son of 'Ukb6, the great 
governor of Mawsel, fell sick of a disease, and his 
sickness waxed exceedingly sore and grievous, and 
although the physicians of the city laboured with him, 

' He has been identified with *Okba bin Muhammad al Khuza'i, 
who was Wah* of Mawsel A. D. 886, by Noeldeke ; see Z D, M, G., 
1895, p. 532. 



in no wise [Page 66] did they benefit him, on the con- 
Foi. 53 a trary, his sickness gained more and more hold | upon 
him. And his father was distressed greatly because 
of him, for the physicians had cut off his hope, saying, 
"Our knowledge faileth [to help us] in the sickness 
*'of this young man, but we counsel thee, O our Amir 
"'Ukb6, to carry thy son gently in a litter and to take 
"him to the holy man Rabban Hormizd, and when he 
"hath laid his right hand upon him he will be healed 
"completely of whatever sickness he hath upon him." 
Now when the Amir 'Ukb6 had heard these [words], 
he commanded and they made ready a chariot {or, 
carriage) for his son, and they placed him in it, and 
taking his soldiers with him he set out to go unto 
the holy man Rabban H6rmizd at Mount 'Edhrai. 
And when he had drawn nigh unto the village of Al- 
Kosh, according to the dispensation of Divine Pro- 
vidence, which doeth all things well for the creatures 
of His creation, the young man's pain overpowered 
him, and he was convulsed with his sickness, and he 
died ; and his father 'Ukbe was distressed greatly be- 
cause of him, and he was uttering cries of grief, and 
because he had no other son except that young man 
he was weeping bitterly for his son's death. Then 
Pol. 53 b the villagers of Al-K6sh and Gabriel, | the servant of 
Rabban, gathered themselves together, and they drew 
nigh unto 'Ukbe, and said unto him, "O our lord, 
"live for ever ! Thou didst, in thy faith, come unto 
"Rabban Hormizd that he might heal him (/. e., 'Ukbe's 
"son) of his sickness, but behold, by Divine Pro- 
"vidence^ death hath overtaken him here, and he hath 
"died. Now, O our good Amir, be not cast down 


"with grief, for we all counsel thee to go to Rabban, 
''having thy son who hath died with thee, and we 
"believe by the God Whom the righteous man serveth, 
"that he will make thy son who is dead to live [again], 
"even as he hath done for many who are like unto 
"thee now." And inasmuch as the Amir 'Ukb6 was 
a good man, and a believer also, he hearkened unto 
those believing men graciously, and he gave the com- 
mand straightway, and they laid the dead man upon 
an animal, and together with ten of his companions 
they took him up to [Page 67] the blessed man ; and 
his servant Gabriel, and a crowd of the believing 
men of Al-K6sh accompanied with honour the Amir 
unto the place where the holy man was. And when 
they had come to the holy man, the governor saluted 
him, and sat down with him. Then the governor an- 
swered and said unto the holy man, | "My lord, I have FoI. 54 a 
"faith in thy prayers, and because of them I came 
"unto thee from the city of Mawsel in faith, with the 
"hope that my son would be healed ; but when I ar- 
"rived at the village of Al-K6sh, according to the 
"will of God and that which was to take place con- 
"cerning him, the young man died in my hands. And 
"I fell into despair concerning him, and I sought to 
"return unto the city of Mawsel, but the lords of the 
"village of Al-K6sh counselled me not to go back 
"until I had come to thee ; and now receive thou me, 
"and visit thou me with thy prayers which are hear- 
"kened to before thy Lord, and send me not back 
"empty to the city of Mawsel, lest the heathen and 
"the heretics their enemies say, *Eh§, Eh6, our eye 
"hath seen him'." Now to these words the holy man 



returned no answer whatsoever, but he fixed his gaze 
upon the ground and his mind upon God, and he 
became conscious secretly in his spirit that He was 
about to send the young man back to life again. 
And the holy man answered and commanded his ser- 
vant Gabriel to bring the young man and to set him 
Foi. 54 b before him, and Gabriel did so. | Then Rabban H6r- 
mizd turned his face to the East, and prayed before 
our Lord, saying, "O our Lord Jesus Christ, Thou 
"beloved Son, Who art from the Holy Father ; Thou, 
"O our Lord, the Son of Mary, the Son of God, 
"during Thy human dispensation didst raise from the 
"dead three dead men. The children of Thy nation, 
"the Jews, crucified Thee upon the wood, and Thou 
"wast buried in the heart of the earth three days and 
"three nights, and, having risen from the grave in 
"the glory of Thy Father, Thou didst* take Thy seat 
"in the heavens at the right hand of Thy Father. 
"And Thou didst command us to ask of Him petitions 
"in the Name of Jesus [Page 68], and to live and to 
"believe in Him, and that every thing should be 
"[given] unto us. In the Name of Jesus the Nazarene, 
"rise up, O Shaibin, from thy state of death." And 
at this word life entered into the young man, and his 
flesh began to quiver, and as soon as the holy old 
man saw that his life had entered into him he drew 
nigh to the body, and moved his right hand three 
times over him that was dead, and said, "Shaibin, 

' Here the text changes into the third person : — "And He took 
**His seat in the heavens at the right hand of His Father, and He com- 
"manded us to ask [things] of Him in prayer, in the Name of Jesus", 


"Shaibin, in the Name of Jesus the Nazarene rise 
**thou up from the dead, for by His Resurrection our 
"Lord Jesus hath abrogated the sentence of death 
"which was passed on thee ;" and immediately he 
opened his eyes, and they straightened him, | and he Foi. 55 a 
sat up. Then the holy man drew nigh unto him and 
gave him a washing [from his cross] to drink, and 
he drank, and he broke a cake of sacramental bread 
and gave him to eat. And when he had eaten and 
drunk, all those who were standing there were seized 
with wonderment and joy, and they cried out, saying, 
"In very truth the Christians stand in the truth, and 
"they worship their Lord Christ blamelessly, for by 
"the Name of Jesus the Nazarene this man hath been 
"raised from the dead." 

Now as the Arabs and the people of Al-Kosh were 
thus rejoicing, suddenly there burst upon them' the 
"shorn", accursed sons of Bezkin, who had come to 
salute the Amir, and to condole with him on the death 
of his son, but behold, they saw that the son of the 
governor had been raised from the dead. Evil [be] 
upon you, O ye heretics, who put to death the God- 
head ! Behold now, by the Name of Jesus, the Man 
Who was God, the dead live through the man Rabban 
H&rmizd ! [And the monks of Bezkin] saluted the gov- 
ernor, and blessed him also, and instead of comfort- 
ing and consoling him,^ for which purpose they had 
come, they began to ascribe glory unto God, and to 
say, "Thanks be unto God | Who hath given joy unto Foi. 55 b 

^ Literally, "there burst upon them the coming of the shorn*', etc. 
2 Literally, **to fill bis heart." 


"us and thee through the restoration to life of thy 
*'son Shaibin by the hands of the servant of the liv- 
*'ing God, the glorious Rabban Hdrmizd." But the 
governor answered them never a word, for he despised 
and rejected their words because [Page 69] they were 
remote from the truthfulness of Rabban Hormizd, and 
he turned his face away from them, and directed the 
gaze of both his eyes and his heart towards Rabban. 
Then the governor answered and said unto Rabban, 
''Master, I know not with what similitudes I can liken 
"and compare thee this day. [Shall I say thou art] 
"like the angel of God ? But why should I say [thou 
"art like] the angels ? Nay, thou resemblest the Lord 
"of the angels through thy divine and triumphant 
"works. For by the Name of Jesus the Nazarene thou 
"hast made to live my son who was dead, and thou 
"hast made him to come back from the devouring 
"Sheol, and he hath [again] seen the light of life. 
"And with what can I recompense thee for the great 
"goodness which thou hast wrought for me, and for 
"my son [who was] dead whom thou didst bring back 
"to life by thy prayers ? Even if I were to give thee 
"all my kingdom and my possessions, what, I say, 
"would the doing of this be for thee in return for 
"that which thou hast done for me ? There is nothing 
Foi. 56 a "which I can do here that will compare, | even in the 
"smallest degree, with what thou hast done for me. 
"Nevertheless let me be baptized in the Name of 
"Him in Whose Name my son was restored to life 
"from the state of death ; yet am I not worthy to 
"make perfect the true faith in my soul, but only let 
"His Name be proclaimed over us, and we shall live 


"thereby. Only, O my lord, give thou unto me the 
* 'baptism of repentance and let us be pardoned there- 
'*by, even as John gave the baptism of repentance 
**unto the people of the Jews."' 

And the holy man said unto the governor, "Thou 
"knowest that I have not with me here the holy ves- 
"sels and the things necessary for the performance 
"of the holy service of baptism, for I have not even 
"a little clay vessel in which to fetch a little water 
"to drink, how then canst thou demand at my hands 
"the vessels which are meet for baptism ?" Then did 
John, the "shorn", accursed, and abominable head of 
the Monastery of Bezkin, make answer on behalf of 
the Amir, saying, "O my lord the Amir, behold our 
"monastery is provided with every thing which is 
"necessary for baptism, and thou canst be baptized 
"by us just as well as by the hands of Rabban, be- 
"cause baptism by him or by us is the same thing." 
Now when Rabban and the crowds that were gathered 
together there [Page 70] heard these [words] from John 
they marvelled exceedingly at his audacity, and Rab- 
ban answered | and said unto John the wretched one, Foi. 56 b 
"O sinful man, the matter is not thus, for our baptism 
"and your baptism no more resemble each other than 
"do God and Satan, or light and darkness, and if 
"thou wishest it, O thou audacious one, I will make 
"this manifest unto thee by the following act." 

^ This allusion to the preaching of repentance by John seems to 
shew that 'Ukbe was acquainted with the New Testament. 


Chapter Xn. 

<Df t^e ti^on&eifuI t^ing wljid^ TXabban wi*ougl)t in tl)e 
matter of tl^e &iffei*ence betn^een our baptiem anb tljat of 

t^e 3acobite0. 

And John said unto Rabban, **If thou canst in very 
"deed shew us this thing according as thou hast said, 
**then thou wilt be a speaker of the truth and I shall 
"be a liar." Then Rabban, having made the governor 
and all those who were gathered together there to be 
his witnesses, cried unto Gabriel his servant, and said 
unto him, "Bring hither unto me quickly a large brass 
"vessel, and two young children who have been bap- 
"tized, the one a son of Nestorians, and the other a 
"son of Jacobites ;" and Gabriel did this in haste. 
And Rabban poured (literally, cast) water into the 
vessel,' and consecrated it in the [Name of] the Holy 
Spirit, and he took the son of the Nestorians, who 
had been baptized, and dipped him in the vessel of 
water, whereupon the fluid nature of the water stood 
up as it were in skin bottles, on the sides of the ves- 
sel, in a most wonderful and marvellous manner; and 
when [the people] saw [this] they glorified God. Then, 
whilst the water was still standing up against the sides 
Foi. 57 a of the vessel, Rabban took the | son of the Jacobites, 
and cast him into the Jordan,* whereupon the water 

1 rCinl is glossed by i^zj^, the Arabic ijuJ^Xy or cuAk. I have 
heard this word applied, in Mesopotamia and the Sudan, to the large 
brass, or copper, vessel, about two and a half feet in diameter, and 
eight inches deep, in which the dough is mixed for a large number of 
bread cakes, or the family clothes are washed. 

2 The name ''Jordan" is often given to the baptismal tank. 


immediately embraced him, and he was baptized there- 
in. And the crowds who were there marvelled and 
said unto Rabban, "What is this marvellous difference 
"in [the behaviour] of this water which we have seen? 
"Explain it unto us now." Then Rabban said unto 
them, "The young child who went down to the water 
"first [Page 71] of all is the son of Nestorians, and be- 
"cause he had been once already baptized, when he 
"went down [the second time] to the water of baptisq;i, 
"the holy water fled from him, even as ye have seen, 
"and it would not baptize him. But the second young 
"child who went down to baptism was the son of 
"Jacobites, and was in need of baptism, and when he 
"went down to the water of baptism it embraced him, 
"and he was baptized thereby ; for [the Jacobites] do 
"not possess holy baptism, but only an inferior and 
"lying baptism.'" Now when the crowds saw this great 
and glorious miracle they all glorified God, saying, 
"There is no true faith except that which Rabban 
"Hdrmizd, the servant of the living God, preacheth." 
Then, first of all Shaibin, the man who was dead 
and had been raised to life again, | went down to Foi. 57 h 
the vessel and was baptized, and after him [went] 
his father, 'Ukbe the Amir, and then one by one the 
ten Arabs, the companions of the governor, who also 
had believed in Rabban. And the heretics who had 
come at first to offer consolation unto the governor 
returned in great shame unto their filthy, and accursed, 
and barren monastery, but the Amir, and the people 
of Al-K6sh returned unto their village in unspeakable 

' A characteristic remark of the Nestorians at the present day. 


joy; and there were great gladness and triumph, which 
can never be taken away, unto all the countries round 
about in the hearing of the report of the triumphs of 
the blessed man. 

Chapter XIII. 

<Df tl^e coming of tl)e lytvttic^ to fl^y tl^e bleffeb man, anb 
conceiving I)i6 compaffton ton)ar^e tl^em. 

But the sore of the wickednesses of the sons of the 
tavern of Bezkin was eating its way into their pol- 
luted souls, and whenever the triumphs of Rabban 
were noised abroad, their envy against the just man 
was becoming stronger day by day ; and because 
their envy had waxed strong against him [Page 72] it 
conceived and gave birth to the [idea of] the murder 
of the righteous man in their crafty thoughts, and by 
day and by night they were scheming how they might 
kill him, saying, "Either he or we must be [master] 
"in this mountain." And from that time forward an- 
xiety for the murder of the righteous man became 
Foi. 58 a clear in their thoughts absolutely, | and the wicked 
men were meditating in their minds by what means 
they might remove his life out of the world. Then 
at length they would go round about the neighbour- 
hood of his cave night after night that, peradventure, 
they might find him by permission from above, when 
it would be easy for them to destroy him. And one 
night ten of them came to his cave in this wise, and 
when they had drawn nigh unto the entrance thereof 
that they might go into it, Divine Grace watchfully 


held them fast at the door of his cave ; and because 
the mind of Rabban was at that time occupied with 
God, he did not know at what season [those] wicked 
men made their attack upon him. And when the day 
had dawned and the morning was come, and the mind 
and understanding of Rabban had returned unto him 
from the region of spiritual beings, he went forth in 
the morning from his cave to walk about, and he 
found those murderers lying down there ready to slay 
him, and they were remaining [there] without any 
feeling whatsoever. Then Rabban understood that 
they were lying in ambush, and that they had come 
to slay him, and he had great compassion upon them, 
and he wept because they had given themselves up foI. 58 b 
to such a murderous thought and intent, and because 
they had of their own free will devoted themselves 
to agreement with the Slayer of mankind, their father 
and teacher. Now therefore what [shall we say] of 
the Christlike old man ? In this matter he made him- 
self like unto his Lord Who prayed unto His Father 
for those who crucified Him, saying, * 'Father, forgive 
them, for they know not what they do ;'* but they 
(/'. e,, the monks of Bezkin) did know what they were 
doing, although they were not crucifying the Lord of 
glory. Nevertheless, like his Master, Rabban prayed 
for those uncircumcised ones, those [Page 73] "shorn" 
ones who were blind of heart, unto that Lord Who 
granteth the petitions of those who love Him. And 
his Lord hearkened unto him, and granted unto him 
the release of the murderers, and as soon as they 
had been set free from the bonds wherewith Divine 
Grace had bound them in its fetters, he brought them 


into his cell in a compassionate manner and, with a 
smile on his face, he answered and said unto those 
cruel men, "Like murderers and robbers ye have 
"gone forth from the shrines* of Bezkin and come 
"against me ; but put down your staves and knives 
"from your hands, and take a little water and wash 
Foi. 59a "your hands and your feet that, peradventure, | ye 
"may be pardoned." Then the holy old man in his 
humility washed their feet with his own hands, even 
as our Lord [washed the feet] of Judas, the betrayer. 
And Rabban also brought unto them bread, and what- 
soever was found with him, and in his gracious kind- 
ness, and in the humility which filled his holy soul 
he gave them rest ; and when they had eaten, and 
were filled, Rabban blessed them, and dismissed them 
that they might depart by the way by which they 
had come. But those man were not diverted from their 
murderous intent, for whensoever Rabban was doing 
for them acts of kindness like unto these, or when- 
soever he was praying for them that they might be 
turned unto the knowledge of the truth, they the more 
whetted their swords for slaughter and their teeth for 
the crushing [of bones], even though they saw that 
they were not benefited by such things, and that they 
were gaining an advantage over the holy man in no 
way whatsoever, and that they were only adding the 
more unto their own wickedness. Thereupon they took 
the path of their father Cyril, and those wicked men 

' By the use of the word f<l^i& the writer indicates that the 
shrines of Bezkin are the abodes of mere idols ; the word itself is 
derived from the old Babylonian word parakku. 


ran to the polluted shrine of Mattai,* where they 
were offering up sacrifices unto their unclean devils. 

[Page 74] Chapter XIV. 

<Df tl^eii* bcpavtuve to maweel by forcery, anb of t^e blon)0 

wf)id) tl^ey vtctivtb from ^abban. 

And the miserable "little" brethren- received some foi. 59^ 
advantage in this matter, for they [said they] were 
"virgins and pure", and their prayers were speedily 
accepted before Mattai, the chief of their shrine, when 
the "shorn" monks of Bezkin were stripped and naked 
before Mattai ; now the miserable "little" brethren of 
Mattai were old men of shame, and "little" brethren 
who were of bold and impudent faces, and of corrupt 
desire, and they loved these devilish prayers and 
prostrations. And Mattai made answer unto them, 
saying, "Depart ye, and bring ye unto me at this 
"present a cake of bread, and make ye a hole in it, 
"and place it on the neck^ of the head of the Mon- 
"astery of Bezkin " ; and the children of their father 
did thus, even according to the answer which the 

' Presumably the famous Monastery of Mar Mattai, which was 
founded by Matthew, a disciple of Mar Awgin, early in the IVth cen- 
tury ; it stands in the Jabal Maklub and is about four hours' ride from 
Mawsel. The Monastery is described by Badger {Nestortans^ I. p. 97) 
and by Rich {Residence, II. p. 98). 

^ The diminutive form r€SDOMr^ is, of course, here used con- 

^ By means of this cake some of the power of the *'idol" of the 
Jacobites was transferred to the Archimandrite of Bezkin, who was a 
Jacobite ; the cake was probably sacramental. 


devil who was in the idol of Mattai had made unto 
them. Then they returned and besought him a second 
time that their petitions might be made mighty with 
men w^ho were not of their faith* [and were in places 
of] honour, so that they might bring about the dis- 
grace and the despising of Rabban Hormizd the Nes- 
torian. And the devil of Mattai made answer and said 
unto them, *'Let the cake of bread be taken from the 
"head of the company of the old men of shame, and 
"let it be placed with reverence on the neck of them 
"all, one after the other, that they all may be made 
"perfect by the laying on (/. e., the imposition) of 
"hands of this iniquity."^ 
Foi. 60 a Now when the time for the customary festival | be- 
gan to come round they took these old men, together 
with their head, from the "shrine" of Mattai to the 
tavern of Bezkin, and without delay in the morning 
they took in their hands no small [amount] of money, 
together with offerings and gifts of great value, to 
'Ukbe the Amir and Shaibin his son. Now therefore 
when [Page 75] the old men, together with their head, 
drew nigh unto the gate of the city of Mawsel, they 
took the bread cake of their devil, and having broken 
off a few fragments from it they dipped them in the 
wine which they had brought with them to offer as 
a precious gift unto the great governor, that there- 
upon the devils might fly into the mind of the gover- 
nor. Then, before they had arrived at the gate of 

^ Literally, "those who were outside". 

* By this act the magical influence of the cake was to be trans- 
ferred to each of the monks. 


the governor, the governor sent forth his ambassadors 
to meet them that they might receive them into his 
house with the Joy and rejoicings of devils ; and as 
soon as the governor had met them he made them 
to sit down with honour upon his own throne. Now 
the unclean cake of bread of their sorcery was hang- 
ing at the neck of their master, and the sorcerers 
acted cunningly and made the governor taste | some FoI. 6o b 
of that wine in which the fragments of the cake of 
bread of Mattai had been crumbled, and as soon as 
he [and his son] had tasted it the operative power 
of the devils flew into the motions of the souls of the 


simple ones, and the governor Ukbe and his son 
Shaibin were consumed with the love of them, and 
they were inflamed with the fire of their devils. And 
the [monks of Mattai] began to ask [them] to go up 
with them to their monastery, so that the fetters by 
which they were bound might be strengthened by 
their devils. Thus the governor took upon himself 
the load of his sins, and he went up to the shrine of 
idolatry with them, and he forgot the deed of grace 
which Rabban had wrought for him in the matter of 
raising his son Shaibin from the dead, and the divine 
miracles which God had wrought towards him by 
means of Rabban, and he went with his enemies like 
an ox to his slaughter. And he perceived (^r, under- 
stood) not the good deeds of Rabban, but cast them 
behind his back,* and the venomous serpents began 
to burrow in the heart of the captive, and to counsel 
him with evil counsels concerning Rabban, and they 

I Literally, "his body." 


said, "He is a sorcerer and a deceiver ;" and the 
wretched governor believed firmly all these things 
which were said by them, because his mind had been 
led captive by the idol of Mattai |. 
Foi. 6 1 a [Page 76] Now Rabban had knowledge concerning the 
destruction of the Monastery of Bezkin — for its over- 
throw had drawn nigh— by means of the gift of know- 
ing what was going to happen beforehand which had 
been given unto him by the Holy Spirit. And when 
Gabriel of Al-K6sh and his companions learned that 
the Amir Ukbe had gone up with joy to the Monastery 
of Bezkin, they went up to Rabban, and they were 
mourning because of what had taken place. But before 
they could arrive at the cave of the holy man, he went 
forth from the cave and met them with rejoicing, and 
said, "Fear ye not, O my children, because the laying 
"waste of the crucifying congregation * hath drawn 
"nigh ;" now they wondered at Rabban doing thus, 
for it was not customary with him. And when they 
had been blessed by him and had sat down, before 
they could say anything whatsoever before him — 
now he already knew of their sorrow — he said unto 
them, "Wherefore are ye sad and in tribulation be- 
"cause the heretics have uttered blasphemous words, 
"9,nd said, 'Either he or we must be [master] in this 
"mountain ?' This very night have they offered on my 

' f^&xacA^ which must == r<&\aa\^ r^i&\x.AlA, ''the crucify- 
ing congregation". r^!aCQ^ means "crucifier", and as Payne Smith 
shews (col. 3404) the city of Jerusalem was called the **city of the 
crucifiers". As the monks of Bezkin were not Jews we can only 
regard the words used by Rabban as mere abuse. 


"account a bribe of two talents of silver to the gov- 
pernor of the country that he may blot me out of 
"this place, and on their behalf I have prayed unto 
"Christ I that they may be pardoned, but our Lord Foi. 6i6 
"would not [hearken], and He would not be persuaded 
"[to accept] my prayer on their behalf, and He hath 
"sent forth the decree of terrible doom and hath 
"passed the sentence of their rooting up from this 
"country on our border. As Christ liveth, and as the 
"Holy Ghost liveth, Who hath taught me to declare 
"the truth unto you, by the time that to-morrow morn- 
"ing dawneth there shall not remain of that shrine of 
"devils one stone upon another which shall not be over- 
"turned." And that blessed company of people an- 
swered and said, "Amen" ; and when they had been 

blessed by Rabban they went down from him, and 
the holy man remained in his place performing his 
divine service. Now when the evening had come he 
set * his feet in prayer before his Lord, and he prayed 
for that which would benefit the Monastery of Bezkin, 
and the inhabitants thereof, and of and by himself 
he prayed for the peace and for the stablishing of 
the [Page 77] Catholic Church, and for the pastors 
thereof, that they might be ambassadors of rest and 
peace for the children thereof; and he prayed, with 
his holy tears on behalf of young folk, that they might 
be pardoned their transgressions, and that they might 
enjoy the good things of heaven by the grace of 
Christ I and by His mercies for ever. Fo\.62a 

' Literally, **planted/' 



Chapter XV. 
<Df tl>e uprooting of tl^e polluted tTTonaflery of SesFin. 

And when Rabban had made an end of his prayer, 
and had said, **Amen", behold, the angel of the Lord 
stood by his side, and there appeared in his right 
hand a crowbar* which was [made] wholly of iron. 
And he answered and said unto the holy man, "Why 
"art thou praying, O good and faithful servant ? Take 
"this crowbar in thy right hand." And when the holy 
man had laid hold upon the crowbar the angel said 
unto him, "With this crowbar I am commanded to 
"uproot the idolatrous shrine of the Monastery of Bez- 
"kin, and to lay it waste, and to scatter abroad the 
"inhabitants thereof, and to make it a desert heap 
"for ever ; and moreover, no inhabitant shall either 
"dwell or be therein again." Then the spiritual being 
rose up and went out, having in his hand the crowbar 
[which he had taken] from the holy man, and he di- 
rected his course towards that monastery ; and he smote 
it with his mighty voice, and scattered the inhabitants 
thereof from it. And again he smote it and made its 
foundations to quake, and he threw down [the build- 
ing thereof] from [upon] its foundations ; those who 
fled and went forth therefrom at the first quaking 
escaped, but those who were so bold as not to flee. 

^ Syr. f^XSpj Arab Jli, a chisel, chopper, hatchet, stone drill, mat- 
tock, a name given to any kind of tool used by a stone mason. Man- 
na's Vocabulaire^ Mossoul, 1900, p. co^hx explains the word hy JlL aJ\ 
dLoU* f^yUU but the meaning **crowbar" suits the text best. 



but dared to resist the word of the voice of the spi- 
ritual being, died a terrible, cruel, horrible, and awful | 
death beneath the stones. And the spiritual being FoI. 62 1 
made his voice to be heard in the ears* of all flesh 
that was therein ; and the first who heard it was the 


Amir 'UkbS, who had taken up his abode that night 
in the monastery, and he was the first to make his 
escape and to go forth from the terror and horror 
which had fallen upon him there, [Page 78] Now the 
first to hear of the punishment which had befallen 
that monastery were the brethren [and] disciples who 
dwelt in the school of Mar Ith-AUaha,* and they armed 
themselves, and came, and began to plunder it, and 
they loaded themselves heavily with the abundant 
possessions which they took therefrom. And the next 
to hear thereof were the villagers of Arsham, and 
Harebha, and Kezyon,^ and they also armed them- 
selves, and climbed over* the mountains and entered 
therein, and took away everything which they found. 
Now when 'Ukbe the governor had fled from there 
he was greatly ashamed to come and see Rabban, 
because that monastery had received the doom which 
had been decreed by God, and it had been laid waste, 
and the inhabitants thereof had been scattered, and 
also because the war of the devils which had in- 
flamed him had risen up against him. Then were the 
eyes of his heart opened, and he knew that he had 
sinned greatly, and that he had not rewarded with 

^ Literally, "in the sight of all the flesh." 
^ More correctly Ait-AIlaha. 
^ The exact site of this village is unknown. 
♦ Literally, "they rode." 



good those who had dealt graciously with him ; so he 
Foi. 63 a turned away and departed to | the village of Al-K6sh, 
and he took up his abode in the house of Gabriel, 
the servant of Rabban, and confessed his sin before 
him, saying, **I have been ungrateful to the good- 
**ness of Rabban, for instead of rewarding him with 
"good I have, in my boastfulness, Hfted up the heel 
"against him. Let not his Master requite me for that 
"which I have done unto him, but, according to the 
"overflowing abundance of the goodness of his Master 
"in the matter of the raising up of my son from the 
"dead [which took place] through him, let Him for- 
"give me the sin which I have sinned against Rabban." 
Now inasmuch as the disciples of Mar Ith-Allaha' 
were jealous for righteousness, when they saw what 
the Lord had done in the matter of the Monastery 
of Bezkin which had been overthrown, fifty men of 
their number put on zeal for the house of God in 
such wise that they went and joined themselves unto 
Rabban ; and in the place which had been planted 
by the Lord, and which He had chosen for a dwell- 
ing-place for Himself, those men, who were wise in 
spiritual things, first of all began to build a church. 
Now when the believing men of the country heard 
thereof, they rejoiced with an exceedingly great joy, 
[Page 79] and each one of them | brought out what- 
Foi. 63 b soever goods he had in his possession, and gave them 
unto Rabban as things appertaining unto blessing for 
the building of that holy monastery, with a joyful 
heart and faithful intent for Christ's sake. 

' More correctly Ait-Allaha, 


Chapter XVI. 

<Df tl^e beginning of tlyc buifting of tl)e monaflery, ant> of 
tl)e gift of Bl)^^al)wt ' of »hl) Kopa. 

And Khodahwi, the son of Shubhhi, who was a 
believing man, and one who feared God exceedingly, 
[who came] from the village of Beth Kopa^ in the 
country of Nineveh, and was a lover of the worship 
of God, took from his riches seven talents of silver, 
and went up to Rabban and offered them unto him, 
saying, **Take these, master, from the hands of thy 
''servant, and let them be expended in the building 
"of the monastery, and pray for me, O Rabban ; and 
"when these have been expended on this monastery, 
"1 will give unto thee others, O master." Then Rab- 
ban called unto George [his] disciple, the archdeacon 
whom he had appointed steward of the moneys which 
were to be expended, and he delivered the seven 
talents into his hands, and said, "Take these, O my 
"beloved, from the hands of Khodihwi, the son of 
"Shubhhi, of Kopa, and let them help towards the ex- 
"penses;" and George the archdeacon took them, and 
he began to build anew and to stablish the building 
of the temple and the house for the community,-* and 
the cells for the habitation of the brethren and for 

^ A name of Persian origin. 

^ A village on the road between Mawsel and Al-Kosh ; see above, 
p. 81. 

^ /. e.t the buildings for the use of the coenobites. The use of the 
word A\:u) seems to indicate that a church or building of some kind 
was already in existence. 


Foi.64tf the service | of God. Then the people of the country 
who possessed goods of various kinds [suitable] for 
offerings and oblations began to bring them up to 
that holy monastery and to give them as gifts to- 
wards the expenses, and those who possessed neither 
[Page 80] gold, nor silver, nor furniture, nor brass, 
would work like workmen with the members of their 
body. And the Lord accepteth the good will which 
is devoted to the service of righteousness more read- 
ily than gold and silver. Now therefore 'Ukbe, the 
governor of the country, being desirous of making 
himself pleasing unto Rabban because of the act of 
folly which had been committed by him in going unto 
the "shorn" monks of the Monastery of Bezkin, also 
came forward, and took three talents of silver, and 
sent them unto Rabban by the hands of Shaibin his 
son ; and Rabban received them from his hands, and 
he called George the archdeacon and Gabriel of Al- 
Kosh his servant, and delivered the money into their 
hands that it might be [employed] in the completion 
of the building of the monastery. 

And it came to pass in those days that it was 
revealed unto Rabban by the Holy Spirit that he 

Pol 64 b should go unto the Monastery of Mattai, | and should 
uproot therefrom the miserable little idol * of the devil 
which led [men] into error ; and he went forth on the 
morning of the following day without any of the sons 
of his monastery knowing whither he was going. And 
when he had arrived at the tavern of Mattai — now 

' rdl01^i\Sk. The diminutive is again used here as a mark of 


it was the time of sunset' — before he went into that 
monastery, he prayed to our Lord to hide him from 
the eyes of those heretics, so that they might not 
have knowledge of his coming thither whereby he 
might be cut off from [the performance of] the matter 
on account of which, by the Divine beck, he had 
been sent thither. Then when the blessed man had 
finished his prayer, he rose up and went into the 
monastery whilst it was not yet dark, and our Lord 
gave him mercy in the eyes of the doorkeeper of the 
Monastery of Mattai, and he received him ; and he 
wished to refresh him with meat and drink, but Rab- 
ban refused it, saying unto the doorkeeper, **My lord, 
**I am a stranger and I am a slave of a Persian who 
**is of a cruel disposition ; and because I have no 
"strength in me to work for him and to minister unto 
"him, for I am a [Page 8i] feeble old man, even as 
"thou seest, I have fled from him whither I could. 
"And now, my lord, I beseech thee to permit me to 
"hide myself with thee this night, and in the morn- 
"ing I before daybreak, I will take my flight from be- FoI. 65J 
"fore my lord's eyes ; and the Lord shall reward thee 
"for this good deed, and for the act of grace which 
"thou hast shewn unto me." Now when the door- 
keeper saw his humility and his wretched condition,^ 
Rabban was regarded with mercy by him, and he 
took him and carried him to the place of the shrine 

' The distance from the Monastery of Rabban Hormizd to the 
Monastery of Mattai is about twenty-five miles, and the climb from 
the plain up the rugged road to the building occupies about three or 
four hours. 

^ /. e.f his want of clothes. 


of the holy man Mar Mattai, and he left him and 
departed. Then Rabban stood up, and performed his 
service of prayer before God in a holy manner,* and 
the Lord received the prayer of His servant, and sud- 
denly the angel of the Lord came down to his as- 
sistance, and he opened the shrine of the holy man 
I Mar Mattai, and stretching out his hand into the lower- 
I most parts of it he brought out therefrom a miserable, 
I little idol of brass, the eyes of which were of gems 
i made of striped beryls. And he gave the idol unto 
' the holy man, and said unto him, **Seest thou this 
"miserable, and contemptible, and despicable, little 
**idol? In this thing dwelleth the error of the sons of 
"this monastery. When the holy man Mar Mattai, the 
"disciple of the holy man Mar Awgin,* came by the 
"dispensation of Divine Providence unto this place, 
Foi. 656 "by the anxious care for him, as well as for | the 
"disciples his companions, which [was manifested] by 
"the Holy Spirit, and through Mattai, the inhabitants 
"of this country were turned unto the true faith in 
"the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, a 
"Divine Nature, Which never died and never shall 
"die, and in the Man, Who was of our [race], Jesus 
"Christ, Who was, by Divine Grace, God ; but when 
"their belief had been corrupted by the impurity of 
"CyriP the Egyptian, all their multitudes were forsaken 

' Literally, "purely." 

^ He died, being a very old man, A. D. 362, and it is certain that 
he preached Christianity in Mesopotamia early in the IVth century. 
The Syriac text of his life and acts is given in Acta Martyrum, ed. 
Bedjan, Paris, 1892, pp. 376 — 480, and a summary of it will be found 
in my Book of Govemorsy vol. i, p. CXXV flF. 

^ /. ^., Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria ; see above, p. 85. 


"by the Divine Care, from one end of heaven even 
"unto the other. Then, moreover, Marcion' the sor- 
"cerer corrupted their minds and polluted their temples 
"in every place and city wherein his doctrine was ac- 
"cepted, and he taught them to place in the altars 
"[Page 82] of their iniquitous sacrifices, and in their 
"houses of assembly for worship, miserable little idols 
"like this one, that, forsooth, they might be [their] 
"saviours and deliverers from those who are worked 
"upon by devils,^ and also from those devils of the 
"night ^ who are in the forms of dogs, so that they 
"might not have dominion over them in the month 
"of Shebat"/ and would ward off from their riches 

' /. e.f Marcion, the famous heretic who flourished in the second 
century of our era ; his views are summarized from a Jacobite point 
of view by Bar Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles,, ed. Abbeloos and Lamy, I. 
col. 43. 

^ rtlSkOiJLln. Native authorities are not agreed as to the exact 
shape and form of the kaniropos, though most of them admit that the 
creature, which appears to have taken the form of an animal, went 
about by night. The lexicons describe it as a "night devil" (Payne 
Smith, col/3665), or a **night Satan'*, and identify it with the Kutrub 
and the *U1, whose attributes are well known from Arabic writers. 
One native authority quoted by Payne Smith says that the kanirdpe 
go forth by night and that they take the form of dogs until the day 
Cometh. The word rtlSkOlJLln == xuvavOpwTUc^ or XuxavOpio'jro;, and 
must be the name of a devil who goes about by night in the form of 
a wolf or dog, though Brun explains it by "laborans cynanthropia vel 
lycanthropia, morbo sctl, quo putat aeger se mutatum in canem vel 
lupum" {DicHonarium Syr, LaL^ p. 602). 

^ I believe the text to be corrupt here and that we should read 
•a1CU:i&09 u e., "men possessed of devils". 

"* The Syrian month which corresponds roughly with our February. 
I cannot explain why Shebat should be a particularly dangerous 


"the vexatious and erring wandering of rebellious 

Chapter XVII. 

(Df tl)e bringing out of tl^e mifeiable little i^ol wl)id> tt?e 
accul*fe^ oneo f)ab place^ in tl^e fl^rine of tl^e l^oly man 

mdv mattai. 

"Now therefore these people possess no altar what- 
"soever, and no place which hath been set apart by 
"them [for worship] in the churches, and monasteries, 
"and [other] habitations of monks, in which a wretched 
Foi. 66 a "little idol, similar to that which thou now | seest, hath 
"not been placed and hidden ; and this they worship, 
"and unto it are performed their hateful, filthy, and 
"polluted works, and the grace of thy Lord hath 
"removed itself far away from them. Now it was Cyril, 
"the priest of devils and the minister of fiends, who 
"brought in [this] injurious thing upon them, and it 
"was he who first of all adopted this sacrifice of rebel- 
"lious devils, through a certain woman who was a 
"sorceress, and who lived in Egypt and was called 
"*Kaki',^ [which is interpreted] *Evil sorceress'. And 
"he delivered this pagan religion unto his sons, and 
\ "unto the sons of the sons of his accursed and ab- 
"ominable dogma and teaching, and behold, it took 
"root and flourished in every country and province 
"by means of these wretched little idols in which 
"destructive, and accursed, and senseless, and vile 
"devils dwell. But take this idol and get thee unto 

' This seems to be the meaning of this involved passage. 
^ Clearly the Greek word xocxy;. 


"thy monastery in peace, and now I and thou will 
"pray here that there may be no rest unto the sons 
"of its habitation from this time forward, * for there 
"hath been taken away from here the wretched little 
"idol [Page 83] which is to them in the place of God, 
"the Governor of the universe." 

And it came to pass that when they had prayed 
concerning | this matter and they had been accepted, Foi.OGb 
the angel took Rabban in the strength of the Holy 
Spirit, and set him in his cave without toil [on his 
part]. And when the day had come his servant Gabriel 
came and was blessed by him, and he answered and 
said unto Rabban, "Where wast thou the whole day 
"yesterday? For I sought much after thee, and I 
"found thee not." Then the holy man related unto 
him the history of the whole matter, even as it had 
happened, and he brought out also the wretched little 
idol which the angel had given unto him there ; and 
he and all the brethren who were disciples and who 
had received from him his ascetic garb, and had also 
been numbered among the number of the brethren — 
now they were in number one hundred and eleven, 
and they were of one spirit and of one soul — rejoiced 
and marvelled. And Rabban told before them how 
the angel had helped him, and how he had given 
unto him this wretched little idol, to which the devil 
who leadeth into error had given a name, and which 
was the [object of] error of the sons of that region 
of the East. Now the devil which dwelt in that 
wretched little idol was unable to bear with Rabban 

^ Literally, "from this place." 


any longer, for he was constrained by the might of 
Foi. 67 a the prayer of Rabban, | and he began to utter com- 
plaints, saying, **Woe [is me] through thee, O son 
*'of Nazarenes ! Woe [is me] through Thee, O Jesus, 
'*the Son of Mary ! Woe [is me] through thee, O Hor- 
"mizd, the son of Persians ! For thou hast driven me 
"out of all the earth. I fled unto the abysses of Sheol 
"from thee, and thou hast brought me up from thence 
"in shame even this day, and even this hath not 
"been sufficient for thee in the matter of me, for thou 
"now wishest to make me a spectacle and a laughing- 
"stock unto my lovers and friends in the villages 
"wherein they hold me in honour, and in the cities 
"wherein I was once held in esteem ; and behold, 
"this day instead of honour I have disgrace, and in- 
"stead of glory contempt." 

Now the crowds of Rabban's disciples were stand- 
ing [there] in wonder and were listening to the devil 
which was talking [Page 84] in this wise from inside 
the wretched little idol. And George, the priest of 
that monastery, took the wretched little idol from be- 
fore Rabban, saying, "This day, O father, I will go 
"down into the villages and cities which are round 
"about us, and I will shew unto our people the god 
"of the heretics, who are the children of the religion 
"of Cyril, and of this deceiver of Mattai, and also 
Foi. 676 *<of the night devils' | of Egypt;" and the counsel of 
George his steward was good in the sight of Rabban, 
and he permitted him to do thus. Now Gabriel of 
Al-K6sh was occupied with the service of the work- 

' See above, p. 121. 


men and labourers, who were building those parts 
of the monastery which were to be used by those 
who dwelt together, and the cells. And after a period 
of ten months the monastery was built, and it was 
furnished with all the appurtenances which were be- 
fitting the service of the ascetic life, and the habita- 
tion of monks. 

Chapter XVIII. 

(Df tl)e coming of tl?e Catt^oltcue to t^e confecvation of tt?e 


And Mar Catholicus, the Patriarch of the East, Tu- 
marsa ' the Second, heard that the Monastery of Rab- 
ban Hormizd in the mountain of 'Edhrai was com- 
pleted, and he rejoiced with an exceedingly great joy 
in Rabban, for he had been a fellow monk^ of Rab- 
ban's, and a most familiar friend, and he had been 
in the same monastery with him, and moreover, he 
had been thoroughly well acquainted with his divine 
life and deeds from the time when they lived in close 
intercourse together in the holy Monastery of Rabban 
Bar 'Idta.^ And by reason of the divine love which 
[existed] between each of them Tumarsa was con- 
strained by divine love, and also because the matter 
necessarily called to him to come to Rabban, the 

^ Tumarsa I flourished in the latter half of the IVth century ; of 
Tumarsa II, if such a Patriarch ever existed, nothing is known. There 
seems to be no room for 'him in the List of Patriarchs ; see Assemani, 
B, 0,f III. I. p. 611. 

2 Literally, "a son of the wallet." 

^ For his history see the translation given below. 


great glory of his bishops went up from his throne, 
Foi.68a and came to Rabban in that mountain | of Beth 'Edhrai, 
And it came to pass that when Rabban heard and 
he had learned by the spirit of divine revelation that 
the coming of Mar Catholicus unto him had drawn 
nigh, he called unto his servant Gabriel, and unto 
George [Page 85] his steward, and said unto them, 
**0 my brethren and children, inasmuch as the grace 
**of Christ hath invited our Father, the pious Mar Tu- 
**marsa the Second, the Patriarch of the East, and 
'*hath, moreover, made straight his journey unto us 
**for sundry and divers causes which [lie] between 
"him and me, it is seemly for us to go down to meet 
'*our Father, and for us to receive him with that 
"honour which befitteth his greatness. Now let the 
"brethren go down, one hundred in number, together 
"with the Book of the Gospels, and with censers, and 
"with lights, and with branches of trees* which will 
"give shade ; and behold, my beloved, ye must re- 
"ceive the pious person of our Father in Beth Kopa, 
"a village of believing men." Then without any hesi- 
tation [or, delay) whatsoever, Gabriel and George did 
what Rabban had commanded them, and, according 
to what he had said unto them, that they should 
meet him in Beth Kopa, a village of believing men, 
they went forth to meet him and they overtook him 
[there] as they were chanting holy Psalms. But in- 
asmuch as Mar Tiimarsa was a man who was full of 
Foi. 68 b grace, and a fearer of God, it seemed not | good in 
his sight to make known concerning himself in the 

' We should probably read r^ouzA 


village of Beth Kopa that he was Mar Catholicus, 
and it was only after the brethren, the children of 
Rabban Hormizd, had come to meet him with such 
pomp and ceremony, that the believing men of the 
village learned from the brethren that he was Mar 
Catholicus [for they said], "Rabban hath commanded 
"us to go down to meet him." Then did the minds 
of the believing men of the village of Beth Kopa fall 
between the mountains of doubt, for on the one hand 
Mar Tumarsa was the Catholicus, and yet he had not 
revealed concerning himself that he was the Catholi- 
cus, and on the other he had proclaimed that he him- 
self was the Patriarch ; as the former he was a son 
of praise,' and as the latter a son of the kingdom. 
Then they went together to Rabban, and both com- 
panies* of men were singing [as they went] before 
the pious Patriarch, and chanting holy hymns and 

And Rabban met Mar Catholicus before the temple, 
for he was not able to walk any further by reason 
of his old age, and the frailty of his body which had 
become old and greatly wasted through the labours 
[Page 86] and exceedingly great toil of the ascetic 
life [which he had led]. Now when the two personages 
had received each other no tongue of flesh can des- 
cribe how great was the divine joy which took up 
its abode in the holy soul of Mar Tumarsa the Second 

' /. ^., as Catholicus Tumarsa was a high ecclesiastical dignitary 
of whom they approved, both from a personal and a religious point 
of view ; as Patriarch, however, it might be necessary to regard him 
as a mere high Government official. 

^ /. ^., tlie one hundred monks, and the men of Beth Kopa. 


Foi. 69 a by reason of his meeting | with Rabban, and having 
met Rabban, the soul of Mar Catholicus rejoiced by 
• reason of the Divine grace wherewith he was clothed. 
And when they had held divine converse with each 
other for a brief space the holy man Rabban H6r- 
mizd said unto him, "If our Father wish [it] let him 
"command his servants, and they shall make ready 
"for us a place of habitation so that thou mayest 
"enjoy rest, my lord, before thou shalt consecrate 
"this temple which hath been dedicated to the honour 
"of thy Lord." Then the Patriarch answered and said 
unto Rabban, "Yea or nay. I say unto thee that I 
"will not drink water this day until I have consecrat- 
"ed thine altar, my lord, this day." And straightway 
he commanded, and the beater smote the board' 
which called the monks together, and as soon as the 
whole company of the brethren was assembled in 
the temple Tumarsa the Patriarch began the service 
of consecration, and he was administering the Holy 
Mysteries to everyone from noon of the day on which 
he had entered into the monastery until far into the 
night.* And at the completion of the consecration of 
that holy altar the souls of Rabban and of his spir- 
itual sons were gratified, and henceforward the whole 
of that country was girt about with great gladness 
because our Lord had held that country and the in- 

Foi. 69 b habitants thereof to be worthy | to see therein the 
Monastery of Rabban Hormizd, the glorious man. 

^ A picture of the board which is beaten to call the monks to- 
gether in Greek monasteries is given in the frontispiece to Curzon's 
Visi/s to Monasteries in the Levant, 

^ Literally, "deep evening." 



But we must not dismiss into oblivion the excellence 
and goodness of the upright and believing man Kho- 
dahwi, the son of Shubhhi, and his anxious care and 
love for Rabban and his sons, for he desired to help 
with all his heart, and he exerted himself strenuously 
that the furniture * of that holy and godly house should 
be provided^ from his own possessions and from the 
abundant riches of his fathers. And he added greatly 
to the large amount of money which he had already 
given unto Rabban, and when this [Page 87] righteous 
man saw Mar Tumarsa, the Patriarch, passing through 
the village of B6th Kopa to go to Rabban to con- 
secrate that holy temple which he had founded to 
the glory of Christ with his name, straightway and 
quickly he sent his servants, together with goods and 
much money, to the city of Maws el, [saying, "See 
"that] there is there this day everything which is 
"necessary for the well-being of the Patriarch and 
"of the brethren." And he himself took seven mules, 
and loaded them with corn, and with wine, and with 
good things of every kind for the consecration of 
that holy temple, and he also took in his hand a 
talent of silver. And when the Patriarch had finished 
[administering] the Holy Mysteries, even as | I have FoI. 70 a 
said above, Khodahwi, and Gabriel, and George 
gathered together all the priests, and 'deacons, and 
believing men who were gathered together there to 
celebrate the holy festival, and he made the com- 
munity of the brethren to be gratified with bread, 
and wine, and oil ; and whatsoever remained [from 

* Literally, "things." 
2 Literally, ''filled/' 


the meal] of the company of believing men and priests 
the brethren divided among themselves. In this way 
did that multitude (pr^ assembly) of believers rejoice in 
the confession of the faith in God, and they were all 
bound together in one true bond of the Holy Spirit ; 
and each of them was talking of the confession of 
faith and thanks which they were offering unto God 
in the Holy Spirit through the supplication and prayer 
which the holy man Rabban [was making] on their 

And our Father, the pious Mar Tiimarsa the Pa- 
triarch, was occupied with Rabban in the secret mat- 
ters on account of which he had come unto him, and 
by Rabban's prayers he obtained a complete and 
satisfactory issue' out of them all, and he had rest 
from strifes by the prayers of Rabban, and by Divine 
Grace he obtained freedom therefrom. Then the Pa- 
triarch gave the command and wrote a decree with 
his own hand, in which [it] was set forth thus : — "I 
**Tumarsa the Catholicus, a stranger,' who by the 
"grace of God hold [the office] of Patriarch of the 
Foi. 706 "Eastern Country, | whom the mercy [Page 88] of heaven 
"hath invited to the opening of this holy church, which 
"is a type and image^ of the heavenly Jerusalem, I 
"hereby command by the heavenly nod, and I curse 
"by the speech of angels, and I deny by the divine 
"command that any Bishop or Metropolitan^ in all 

^ Literally, '^solution." 2 r<klfiaj^f< 

^ Literally, ''shadow." 

^ On the exemption of the monastery from the jurisdiction of the 
bishop see Hoffmann, Auszuge, p. 179. 


"the country hath any power to take in his hand the 
"priestly staff, or to put on the apostolic apparel in 
"this holy monastery which Rabban Hormizd hath 
"founded ; and no one shall bind in or loose from the 
"headship of the brethren who are in this monastery 
"except only the Patriarch of the East, whosoever he 
"may be, and it is only just and seemly thus to pro- 
"claim (for this altar hath been consecrated by my 
"hands) through the blessed and pious brethren ; and 
"the Bishops and Metropolitans who are with me to 
"this have set [their hands]." Thus did they decree 
in the handwriting of the pious Mar Tiim&rsa, the 
Catholicus and Patriarch, and [to this decree] did all 
the brethren, and the Bishops, and the Metropolitans 
set their hands, hand after hand, one after | his fellow, Fohyia 
and the Patriarch sealed this [writing] and placed it 
in the hand of Rabban Hormizd, and the holy man 
gave it unto George his steward. 

And it came to pass after all these things had taken 
place in this wise, on that same evening, when it was 
late, they set a feast on the board, and one broke 
bread and blessed, and they [all] began to partake 
of the feast with joy and gladness, together with Rab- 
ban and the Patriarch ; and when they had finished 
[eating at] the table, and had risen up therefrom, 
Khodahwi, the son of Shubhhi, of Kopa brought unto 
them [wine to] drink, and they drank together with 
joy therefrom, each man three cups,' according to the 
command of Abba Isaiah the monk. And moreover, 
he set a talent of silver before the Patriarch, saying. 

' Literally, "in three cups." 



"Take these moneys from the hands of thy disciple 
"Khodahwi, the son of Shubhhi, of Kopa, that they 
**may serve for thy use and for the expenses of thy 
"journey, O master." Then [Page 89] Mar Patriarch 
looked upon the believing man Khodahwi and blessed 
him, and he said unto him, "The burden which we 
"have laid upon thee yesterday, this day, and now, 
"is sufficient for thee, according to what we have 
"heard, and the true believers have related unto us 
"concerning thee, and concerning thy watchful care 
Foi. 71 b "and the strenuousness | of thy mind towards Rabban 
"and his holy house. Now, as far as it concerneth 
"us, such large moneys as these are of no use unto 
"us, and if thou art willing take back thy money, O 
"our brother, to thyself; that which I possess is suf- 
"ficient for me." Then this believing man constrained 
him, saying, "What I have vowed unto thee [I have 
"vowed]. I must pay unto the Lord my vows, and 
"this money belongeth unto thee and unto the Lord, 
"and it cannot return unto my habitation. Master, 
"thy servant hath possessions in abundance, and they 
"are sufficient for me ; only accept thou a talent [of 
"silver] from what I have." And having been con- 
strained to do so by this believing man the Patriarch 
accepted the money at his hand, and laid [it] before 

Chapter XIX. 

<I>f tljt gift to tf}c Cat()oHcu0 from Kl76^d^wi after tlye 

manner of a blefjlng. 

[Thus Khodahwi gave] of his own possessions an- 
other talent. And the Patriarch called Gabriel and 


George, the guardians of the monastery of Rabban, 
and said unto them, "Take this money, and let it 
"[serve] for the expenses of the monastery, and for 
"such things as are lacking therein ;" and these ste- 
wards accepted the money at the hands of the pious 
Patriarch, and they did therewith according as they 
had been commanded. And on the morning of the 
next day Tiimarsa the Patriarch set out early on his 
journey, and Rabban accompanied him as far as our 
Lord gave him strength, and he [only] ceased from 
walking when he | was unable to go down with him ¥01.72 a 
another step ; and there they were blessed by each 
other, and they gave each other the salutation of 
peace with a holy kiss and separated. Then Rabban 
returned to his cave, his soul being filled with the 
grace of the Holy Spirit. Now when that Satan which 
belonged to the idol [of Mattai] and which led [men] 
into error, had been driven forth from his place, 
[Page 90] and had been put to open shame, he breathed 
forth loud threats of vengeance, and stirred up against 
Rabban all the heretics who lived round about him, 
and the heretics, and their chief men who were mar- 
6dsSy^ and also the "shorn" monks who were in all 
their monasteries. 

». The exact meaning of this word is doubtful ; it 
occurs again on p. 135. The Marhdse were probably Jacobite landed 


Chapter XX. 

d>f tl^e t)roD^ning of twenty l^eretico, anb of t^e deliverance 
of Pttl^dn, tl^e Heflortan boatman^ w^o wm mafler of tl^e 


Now therefore there was assembled against Rabban 
a secret council in the city of Mawsel, and on this 
account the [members thereof] collected ten talents 
of silver, saying, "Let us strive to slay him and [to 
"work] the destruction of his soul. For it is this man 
"who hath uprooted our monasteries, and defiled our 
"altars, and overturned from their foundations our 
"temples, and thrown down our sanctuaries; there- 
"fore let us deal wisely also in [working] his destruc- 
"tion, even as he hath acted cunningly in bringing 
"about our overthrow. And, if it should happen that 
"we be taken prisoners by the governor because of 
"his death, let us weigh out to him his weight of 
"gold ; but let us destroy Rabban because he hath 
"made inroads into our monasteries after the manner 
"of a tyrant, and hath swept away our congrega- 
"tions in a pitiless manner. Let us destroy this man j 
Foi. 72 b "from our dominion [at once], so that he may not lay 
"waste all [our] monasteries, lest his Son of man, 
"Jesus, Who hath become God, according to what 

I f<lC\olxs ^ x£pxoupo<;, j^jSf t\e.f the comparatively flat-bottomed 
boats with high bows which have been used to ferry passengers 
across the Tigris from time immemorial. The boat is usually filled 
with sheep, donkeys, baggage of all kinds, and often camels ; the 
woman crouch in the bottom of the boat, and the men sit along the 
sides, and assist the owner of the craft with counsels of a conflicting 


"he saith, come and deliver him out of our hands." 
But these men of strife did not know that the sword 
of Jesus was whetted for their slaughter, and that 
the spear of the Lord was ready to transfix them. 
And there gathered together of their chief men eight 
7narbdsi,^ and seven "shorn" monks, and five young 
men, and they went forth from the city of Mawsel 
secretly, before the men of the same faith as Rabban 
knew about them or could plot their destruction ; but 
they stole away and went forth two by two, and three 
by three, to cross the river Tigris, that they might 
go up to Rabban under a pretence of peace,"" and 
might stretch out their hands upon him and slay him. 
"And if," [said they] "we be taken prisoners by the 
"governor we will give unto him whatever [Page 91] we 
"are called upon to give, and we shall escape." 

And it came to pass that in this murderous mind, 
and with this deadly intent, they embarked in the 
ferry-boat to cross the river and to go to the holy 
man that they might destroy him utterly ; now the 
master of the ferry-boat in which they had embarked 
was a Christian, and he belonged to the orthodox 
faith.^ And when the boat had gone a little distance 
in the waters of the Tigris, | and they had come into Foi. 73 a 
deep water, the boat stood still in the midst of the 

^ See above, p. i33. 

2 Literally, ''ambush of peace." 

' The writer, of course, means that the boatman was a Nestorian. 
It is a fact to this day that most of the good boatmen on the Tigris 
are Nestorians, and most of those who form the crews of the river 
steamers come from Tell Kef and the immediate neighbourhood of 


water, and it would go neither forwards nor back- 
wards.* Then was Pithion, the master of the boat, 
much troubled, and he began to cry out in his faith 
to the holy man [Rabban] to help him, saying, **0 
"help me, ye saints of our Lord, in this season of 
"great tribulations, for our trust is [fixed] upon God 
"and upon His saints." And again he cried out, and 
said, "O God of Rabban Hormizd, help Thou me in 
"this time of my affliction through the prayers of 
"Rabban H6rmizd, the glorious man." And the Lord 
heard the prayer of Pithidn the boatman, and He sent 
His angel, in the form of Rabban Hormizd, to help 
him, and Rabban appeared unto him sitting above 
the sail' of the boat; and whilst Pithion the boatman 
was wondering at the sight of the old man, who 
seemed to be made of fire, he took in his right hand 
the rudder of the boat, and turned the boat upside 
down, and thus he utterly destroyed all the men in 
the waters of the river. Now when the boat had 
gone back a little in the water and it was still float- 
ing upside down, suddenly that old man made it to 
Foi. 73 b right itself, and to take its | former position ; and to 
Pithidn, the old boatman, there came no harm, and 
not one piece of tackle nor any block which was used 
in the working of the boat was lost, for the old man, 
who seemed to be of fire, was taking great care of 
the boat, which he was guarding like the apple of 

' /. e., the boatman had run his boat on a mud bank. He next 
turned the boat broadside on to the current which runs strongly at 
Mawsel, when it was at once capsized by the united strength of the 
wind and current. I have seen this happen more than once. 

2 rx^m^^t^ __ apfXSVOV. 


the eye. Then the angelic man made Pithion the old 
boatman to hear with his natural senses these words, 
saying, "Hearken, O Pithion the boatman, I have 
"delivered thee from all this destruction [Page 92] with 
"these wicked men, and have not destroyed thee along 
"with them, because thou didst make me thy place 
"of refuge, and didst call upon me ; moreover, I did 
"answer thee since thou didst call upon me, Rabban 
"Hormizd. These men who have perished in the 
"waters, and whom I have drowned by the grace of 
"our Lord, went forth and came to slay me ; but thee 
"have I made to escape out of their hands, and I have 
"not made thee to perish in the manner in which they 
"have perished. Therefore glorify thy God, O thou 
"old man Pithion, because the Lord did not shew 
"Himself longsuffering in respect of them, and be- 
"cause He hath brought upon them a terrible doom." 
And an account of this wonderful thing was written 
[and sent] throughout all the country which was round 
about them ; thus the Lord protected and made His 
friend to triumph by means of such things as these, I 
and by others which were like unto them. Foiy^a 

And this old man [Rabban] was hot with zeal 
against the heretics, and he burned with fervent de- 
sire for the utter destruction of their worship of error. 
And he besought our Lord, and made supplication 
unto Him in his prayer, saying, "O Lord Jesus Christ, 
"Thou true and beloved Son, Thou Light of light 
"Who hast destroyed the darkness of error out of 
"the world and hast illumined it with the light of Thy 
"Godhead, grant Thou unto me rational and spiritual 
"might that I may go into the dark chambers of the 


"hidden things of the children of darkness, and may 
"be able by the power which [I shall receive] from 
"Thee to make to be of none effect the error, which 
"[is contained] in the books [of the heretics] that have 
"been written by the finger of iniquity and [composed 
"by] sinful meditation, wherein is buried the medicine 
"of death {i. e,, poison) ; in Thy Father, and by Thy 
"Spirit, and by Thy feeble servant, let Thy holy name 
"be glorified. Amen." 

Chapter XXL 
d>f tl>e t)e(lruction of tlje boofo of fofcery of tt}e t^erettco. 

And when Rabban had made an end of his prayer 
the salutation of peace was given unto him by a spi- 
ritual being, and an angel took him by his right hand, 
and said unto him, "Peace, O Rabban ; peace, O 
Rabban ;" and having smitten his wings of the spirit 
together, with one stroke he set Rabban immediately 
at the [Page 93] door of the tavern of Mattai, and 
then removed himself therefrom and stood opposite 
[to Rabban]. And Rabban prayed with many sad 
Foi. 74 b and I sorrowful tears, and made supplication concern- 
ing the error of the sons of the deceiver. Then the 
spiritual being made answer unto him in a figurative 
manner,* [saying], "I do not desire the death of a 
"sinner, but that he should repent of his iniquity, and 
"live.* If he repenteth in truth, [well] ; and if he doth 

^ Or, in a manner which could be understood by the senses. 
* Ezckiel XXXIII. 11. 


"not, what then?" These things were revealed after 
the manner of a mystery in that divine understanding, 
[as if to say], "They will not turn from their evil 
"ways and do the things which are good, for they 
"have learned to commit wickedness." And it came 
to pass that when the evening had come, and every 
man had returned unto his habitation and was asleep, 
the holy man again prayed unto our Lord that He 
would give him the victory in the matter on account 
of which the mercy of heaven had led his steps thither, 
and which it had summoned him [to do], and that 
he might be delivered from the baleful attacks of the 
devils which were stirring up war against the holy 
men of God. Now therefore the holy, spiritual being 
opened before him the gates which were fastened care- 
fully, and he led him from place to place through 
the dark and secret chambers [of the monastery] until 
he set him at the door of the room where the books 
of the calumniators [of God] were kept, and he went 
before him, and opened it and said unto him, "Behold, 
"O thou zealous man of Christ, take the things of 
"the spirit, and make thyself rich [therewith]." And 
the blessed man went about hither and thither in the 
room in which the books j of the deceiver were kept, FoI. 75 a 
and he prayed unto our Lord that peradventure He 
might make him wise [to bring about] the violent 
destruction of the books of the deceiver, and as he 
was praying there a small fountain of water welled 
up for Rabban in the room in which he was standing, 
and the waters thereof were thick by nature and 
stinking in smell ; and Rabban knew that the waters 
which bubbled up from that fountain were akin unto 


the Stinking offal ' of the body. [Page 94] Then straight- 
way in the strength of the zeal of a zealous man he 
took the books which were arranged in rows in the 
library, and he befouled them with the water, and 
dipped them in it, and they were at once destroyed 
and were fit for nothing whatsoever ; and when Rabban 
had thus done unto all those books, and had made 
an end [of the doing], the fountain of water which 
had welled up suddenly ceased to flow. And Rabban 
prayed again unto our Lord, and that angel who had 
already carried him seized him and bore him away 
from that place to the outside of the gate of the 
monastery of the deceiver. 

And the soul of the righteous man was crying out 
to him through sickness {pr-y sorrow), and he was ask- 
ing of our Lord release from this world. Then he 
heard a voice which could be perceived by the senses 
from the heights of heaven, saying, **Fear not, O My 
Foi.75^ "servant Hormizd^ | for the completion of thy strife, 
"and the end of thy days shall be granted unto 
"thee;" and at this voice which could be perceived 
by the senses his holy soul was filled with the spirit 
of Divine Grace. And suddenly his understanding was 
seized and carried away with wonderment at God, 
and with the sight of the Holy Trinity, and with 
heavenly contemplation, and moreover, it was then 
revealed unto him on what day his departure from 
this world of labours and afflictions unto the place of 
divine rest and delight, and to the Jerusalem of the 

* f<d\49 fetidj filth, dung, the offal of fish, and the like ; see Duval, 
Lexicon^ col. 2094 ; and Manna, Vocabulairty p. 853. 


holy firstborn, should take place. And the delights 
of the new world were made known in his mind in 
a secret and mysterious manner, according to that 
sublime gift which had been given unto him by our 
Lord from the time of his youth and up to that day, 
and thereby had he become renewed and had gained 
the strength of his youth again, and thereby had he 
trafficked and gotten gain, and he had become a new 
and perfect man in Jesus Christ, in the likeness of 
his creator. Now this complete perfection was renewed 
each and every day in this holy and blessed old man, 
even as the eagle which is renewed [in strength daily] ; 
these are the firstborn sons of heaven who have been 
sealed with the seal of the Lordship of Jesus, Who 
is the Master of many brethren. 

[Page 95] Chapter XXII. 

TXabban ^drmi$t) anb jQnatiuo tl^e forcever. 

Now therefore, after | our Lord had wrought in this FoI. 76 a 
wise by means of Rabban in the house of the deceiver, 
in the monastery of him that leadeth into error, who, 
as I have said above, was dwelling in that wretched 
little idol, which they (/. e., the heretics) were wor- 
shipping secretly. He was making manifest the more 
in Ignatius, the head of that monastery, the strength 
of his error. For it was he who was offering up offer- 
ings continually in his cell, at one time birds, at an- 
other kids and sheep, at another cats and apes, at 
another medicines' in the censers ; and he was slaugh- 

' /. e,f magical drugs. 


tering and offering up sacrifices and libations to the 
devil that was a deceiver. Now this devil of error 
used to make Ignatius to have triumph in many ways 
before kings and governors ; sometimes after the man- 
ner of a prophet he would reveal things unto him 
before they took place, and at others he would send 
forth the fame of the name of Ignatius before the 
multitude, and proclaim him to be a holy man, and 
also make manifest that he wrought divine, mighty 
deeds ; in this wise the error became greatly noised 

Then that devil who was a deceiver answered and 
said unto him, **0 Ignatius, my friend, why is thine 
**heart so overwhelmed that thou dost not know what 
**hath been happening in thy monastery during these 
"days?" And the sorcerer Ignatius said unto him, "I 
Foi. 76 b "know not what | thou sayest now ; but this thing 
"I know, I have not seen thee performing anything 
"whatsoever in this monastery for very many days 
"past. The storehouse {0/% bin) for the corn is empty, 
"the flask hath no oil therein, the wine skins have 
"dried up because they never have any wine in them, 
"there are no congregations, the women go not up 
"[to the shrine], the brethren* rejoice not, the treasury 
"is wholly empty of money, and, behold, our bread- 
"cake* which was wont to warm the bosoms of those 
"who ate it is now cold and dried up. Wherein have 
"we neglected thee? What sin have we committed 
"against thee that thou shouldst [Page 96] be unmindful 

' The diminutive is used h^re, of course, as a mark of contempt. 
2 /. e,, the sacramental bread. 


"of US in thy forgetfulness ? Behold, we lay incense 
"before thee, but why do the congregations resist 
"thee ? Behold, the brethren love thee, and worship 
"thee ! Behold, we and our old men strip ourselves 
"naked and stand before thee for thy gratification ! 
"What thing have we diminished of the honour which 
"is due unto thee, or in what way have we failed to 
"gratify thee wholly, that thou hast not appeared unto 
"us during this [long] time which is past?" Then the 
deceiving devil said unto him, "I entreat thee to 
"examine thyself a little as to why I have not ap- 
"peared before thee in these [last] days." And Ignatius 
said unto him, "Yea, get thee into the house of thy 
"Mattai, for I have [left] a little of the oil | of the Foi. 77 a 
"lamp which burneth before him, and come to me." 
And Ignatius went forth in great haste from before 
his master the deceiving devil, and went, according 
to his wont, to enter in before the shrine of the holy 
man Mar Mattai, but through the care of Divine Pro- 
vidence he was not permitted to do so ; and he did 
thus once, twice, and thrice, but he was not able to 
enter therein. And being put to shame he came unto 
his foul devil, and fell down and worshipped him, 
saying, "Reveal unto me, O thou deceiving one, why 
"I have not been permitted to go into the shrine of 
"Mar Mattai." And that deceiving devil said unto him, 
"I have already told thee that thou didst not know 
"what hath happened in thy monastery during these 
"[last] days ;" then Ignatius said, "What hath hap- 
"pened? Tell me." And the deceiving devil said, 
"Hormizd, the Nestorian, came with his devils craftily, 
"and entered by night into the room where Mattai 


'*abideth, and he hath stolen and carried off that 
"image of mine which was there ; and then, perceiv- 
**ing through my image that I had been carried off 
**from there through your negligence, I became angry 
"with you, and I departed from you. Now the brother 

Foi. 776 "of that image also, | when he heard what had been 
"done to his fellow, became furiously angry, and he 
"watched his brother's place, and would not allow 
"[Page 97] you to enter therein and inherit the shrine 
"of his brother ; but as ye were neglectful of his 
"brother, and his shrine and his image had been 
"carried off, he also, very justly, drove you forth 
"from his house and cast you away from before his 
"face, because ye had made him a stranger unto his 
"house and the house of his master. Thou seest, 
"Ignatius, that Mattai, in whom ye boast, hath in no 
"wise benefited you, for that deceiver Hormizd, the 
"sorcerer, came and plundered his house and his 
"shrine, and he hath robbed him of his power and 
"carried [it] off, and he hath stolen the riches which 
"were hidden in my shrine there. But what is worse 
"for you is this. When I had gone afar off from you, 
"and from your monastery, the sorcerer Hormizd 
"stripped me of my might and of my power of work- 
"ing, and he came back to you secretly, having put 
"on as a garment the devil of his pride, and with 
"his devils going on in front of him in their glory, 
"until he arrived in the insolence of his mind, with 
"the glory of his legions, and he went into your lib- 

Foi. 78 a "rary, | and by the operation of his sorceries he im- 
"pudently defaced and destroyed with stinking matter 
"the Holy Scriptures, because ye never toiled at my 


"book and ye have made them to perish. My friends 
"and my companions who have lived in all genera- 
"tions have, through the Holy Spirit which I breathed 
"into them, set down in writing my triumphant acts 
"according as I taught them, and ye, through your 
"negligence, have been wholly unmindful of them; 
"and that sorcerer H6rmizd hath had envy of them, 
"and [now] he hath destroyed them wholly and 
"utterly through the operation of his sorceries. Go, 
"Ignatius, and see the overthro wings which have 
"been caused by the sorcerer Hormizd/' 

And behold, when Ignatius had gone to his own 
library and had seen that it was even as his deceiv- 
ing devil had said unto him, straightway he fell into 
great heaviness and bitterness of spirit ; and he cried 
unto his devils secretly, and to his legions of "shorn" 
monks openly, and he made known unto them what 
had happened unto them through the two [calamities] 
which had befallen them, [Page 98] and which are written 
above, and they were greatly moved and were smit- 
ten with consternation in their hearts. Then was Igna- 
tius made wise by his devils, and he told the deacon 
of the community, and they kneaded dough in the 
monastery, and baked bread which they fashioned in 
the form of the bread-cake of the deceiver; | and ko1.78* 
when it was [still] burning hot, the devils took it 
and made it to fly swiftly through the air until they 
set it down at the door of the sleeping chamber of 
the governor of MHwsel. 



Chapter XXIII. 

d>f tt)e coming of tt>e accurfet) '^Qnatino to tTTdweel, anb 
of ttje forcei-y wlyidf Ijt wrougl^t [t^ere]. 

And inasmuch as the governor of the city of Maw- 
sel was a friend of Ignatius, his servants went in and 
informed him concerning [his arrival], and the gov- 
ernor commanded quickly that he should go into his 
presence ; and when Ignatius had gone in the gov- 
ernor gave him the salutation of peace, and gave the 
order, and made him to sit down by his side in honour. 
Then Ignatius set the bread, which was still hot, before 
him, saying, *1 have brought this bread as a blessing 
"for thee from my monastery;" and the governor, 
who was making merry with him, said unto him, 
"Give me a little of that bread of thy monastery as 
"a blessing;" and Ignatius stretched out [his hand] 
and gave him one bread-cake. And, behold, the 
governor perceived that the bread was hot like the 
oven it came from, and he cried out, and said, "Oh! 
"this bread is still hot." Then Ignatius said unto him, 
"O my lord the governor, I have only just brought 
"it from within the oven of my monastery", and the 
governor wondered at this thing ; now several times 
before Ignatius had made him to wonder at his sor- 
ceries, and the governor was wont to declare that 
Foi. 79 a he was a holy man. Then having | come to the mat- 
ter of his sorceries, Ignatius made bitter complaints 
against the holy man Rabban Hormizd, and calum- 
niated him, saying, "His sorceries are more in num- 
"ber than those of all the sorcerers who have ever 


"lived or now live, and he hath wrought many evil 
"things [Page 99] upon our monastery, and [committed] 
"many thefts ; and we also ask thee to have mercy 
"upon thy servants, and to avenge the cause of thy 
"servant Ignatius, and the cause of all thy servants 
"who are the sons of my monastery." 

And because the governor was led captive by the 
devils of the deceiver, and was under subjection to 
his bread-cake, he hearkened unto the devil, and unto 
the evil things which he sowed in his heart ; and the 
governor burned with desire for the destruction of 
Rabban. Then, having made hot the mind of the 
governor in the oven of his own wrath, Ignatius said 
unto him, "O my lord, I entreat thee that I may 
"declare unto thee all my desire concerning the sor- 
"cerer Hdrmizd : I would that he and I might enter 
"into judgment to-morrow before thee, and before all 
"the assembly of thy city ;'^ thereupon the governor 
hearkened unto Ignatius, and [promised] to perform 
[his] desire in this matter. And the governor straight- 
way sent for Rabban five horsemen and five runners, 
and they came to the place where he was at the time 
of sunset, and the horsemen made haste and brought 
him down quickly ; and Rabban took a mule from the 
village of Al-K6sh to ride upon, | for he was unable foI. 79 b , 
to walk, and ten of the brethren of the monastery 
went down with him, but they knew nothing of the 
reason why the governor had sent for him. Now the 
governor who had known Rabban had departed from 
the city, and another, whose name was *Ali, had come 
[in his place] ; and he had no child except an only 

son who was thirteen years old, and who was vexed 



by an evil devil. And Ignatius had worked his sor- 
ceries upon the youth many times, but he was not 
healed, although day by day he used to make the 
governor to be confident of the healing of his son ; 
but the cure of the youth continued to be far off from 
the sorcerer Ignatius. And by his crafty devices he 
used to strike wonder into the governor day after 
day by his sorceries, and he would make his devils 
to fly about in the air [seated] upon seats of fire 
which emitted sparks of light. And for this reason 
[Page 100] he worked in this wise by the crafts and 
wiles of his devils, and said to the governor, "Gather 
* 'together unto me the multitudes of thy city to-mor- 
"row, and to-morrow I will shew my glory' unto thee 
"in the air, that is to say, in the sight of those multi- 
Foi. 80 a "tudes I that they may praise him, [and confess] that 
"he is g^eat, and also that he is worthy of praise." 
But the devil did not know that the sword of Jesus 
was whetted, and made ready and was prepared for 
the slaughter of his swinish nature, and that in course of 
time^ [instead of] "praise", forsooth, he would receive 
the decree of doom from the Most High in return 
for his sorcery, for he had dared to attack Rabban, 
and had spoken falsehood against His holy man ; 
[and he know not] that the height of his boasting 
would be brought low through His saint Rabban Hor- 
mizd, and that his lying nature and craftiness would 
be laid bare before God. 

Now the horsemen were journe)ring along the road 

* L e.f the being to whom I ascribe glory. 
^ Literally, "from his time to his time". 


with Rabban, and before it was light in the morning, 
that is to say, whilst it was still dark, they arrived 
at the river Tigris, and at that time [of the day] they 
could not find the ferry-boat which should take them 
over to the side where the city was. And Rabban 
made over the waters of the river the sign of the 
Cross three times, and, in the Name of Jesus the Na- 
zarene, walked upon the waters of the river Tigris 
as upon dry land ; then he stood up opposite to the 
horsemen, and cried out to them, **Come, O ye horse- 
"men, come, O ye children of the portion of Ignatius 
"the sorcerer, can it be that the deceiving devil who 
"is the friend of | Ignatius hath not told him not to FoL 8o b 
"draw nigh unto the consuming fire ? Can it be that 
"the deceiving devil hath not preserved his friend- 
"ship for Ignatius, who hath been wont to offer up 
"sacrifices unto him as the confession of faith of his 
"wretched soul?" Let iniquity come upon you, O 
devils, ye crafty devils, because ye do not preserve 
sufficient love and friendship, even for your friends 
and those who worship you, [to warn them] when 
the decree of doom from the Most High is about to 
come upon them, and because it is through you that 
your friends receive the punishments of heaven — even 
as happened in that day to Ignatius the sorcerer! 
[Page loi] And when the day had dawned and the 
light had become bright, the horsemen found the ferry- 
boat and crossed over therein, and the brethren also 
who were with Rabban crossed over with them to the 
other side of the river Tigris. Then Rabban encour- 
aged the brethren who had come with him, and said 
unto them, "Be not sorrowful, O my brethren, and 



"despair not, for I have received [news] from our 
"Lord that the man of iniquity is this day about to 
"receive the punishment of death from our Lord, and 
"that his sins and iniquities have invited him to the 
"slaughter of his swinish and iniquitous person/' Now 
when the horsemen had taken Rabban and his com- 

Foi. 81 a panions | and had entered into the city of Mawsel, 
and the governor had been told that Rabban had 
arrived, he commanded that they should come in be- 
fore him ; and as soon as Rabban entered and gave 
the salutation of peace to him, the governor was 
greatly moved at the awfulness of his visage, where- 
from there streamed forth divine fire. Then by reason 
of the fear and great consternation which had seized 
upon him, the governor stood up upon his feet, and 
returned to the holy man the salutation of peace with 
honour and affection, and he made him to sit at his 
right hand, and enquired of him concerning his age ; ' 
and when Rabban had made answer unto him, he 
greatly marvelled at his wisdom, and gentleness, and 
humility, and self-restraint, and serene disposition. And 
the governor answered and said unto the crowds that 
were gathered together about him, "Verily this man 
"is the faithful servant of God, for his service unto his 
"Lord is well known from the appearance of his face." 
And behold, the phantoms' of darkness of Ignatius 
had been evoked in the air, and whilst he was seek- 
ing to make a display of himself with his evil spirits 

Foi. 81 b and fiends — now he was wont to say I that he was 

* Literally, "the depth of his years." 

^ f^:i09jJl& are "bats" ; the gloss reads "flyers by night". 


carried aloft through the air by the holy angels — the 
fiends seized the devil (Ignatius), and placed him in 
[Page 102] mid-air. Then suddenly Rabban strung his 
bow, and placed the arrow of deliverance upon the 
string which had been given by grace, and therewith 
he transfixed the iniquitous one and his legions, saying, 
"It is not for you, O ye deceivers, to deliver your 
"wills unto the soul's desire of the iniquitous one, 
"nay, by Jesus Christ the Nazarene, I set a bond 
"upon you, and ye shall remain in the air in the po- 
"sitions in which ye now are, until I set you free from 
"the bond wherewith I have bound you ;" and there- 
upon, by Divine Providence, the devils stood in mid- 
air perforce and against their own wills. And as soon 
as the devil Ignatius saw that the wheels of the course 
of his sorcery had become useless, and that the Divine 
Will had gained the dominion [over him], and that 
the sword of the punishment of the Most High was 
in Its hand, and also that the penalty and retribution 
for his sinfulness had drawn nigh, he began to ascribe 
woe to himself. And he cried out in mid-air, saying, 
"Woe is me ! What hath befallen me through my sins 
"which have overtaken me ? And I am powerless to 
"escape from the cruel circle of thy prayer, O Rabban 
"Hormizd. Woe is me ! O Rabban, I repent of the 
"sinfulness in which I was held fast, and I will become 
"a sincere penitent | through thee, O thou holy man, foI. 82 a 
"Rabban Hormizd, Let not thy Lord reject me as a 
"penitent, even as Thy Lord did not reject the holy 
"man Cyprian,* the sorcerer, for when he repented 

^ Perhaps the magician of Antioch who repented, and embraced 


fi~ - — 

"sincerely the Lord accepted him with all His heart, 
**and Cyprian became an advocate for the afflicted, 
**and a refuge for those who were in trouble, and 
"who fled to him for help." 

And because the soul of Rabban was filled with 
mercy and compassion, his mercy rolled upon him 
that was crying out and weeping bitterly, and straight- 
way he turned his face to the East, and prayed on 
his behalf with pain and tears, that, peradventure, he 
might be accepted, and be pardoned his sins, and 
might live ; but Divine righteousness did not will to 
accept him, since he had not repented sincerely and 
with his own heart, but only because he had at that 
moment been seized [Page 103] by the devouring [jaws] 
of justice. For however long justice had been silent 
and motionless, yet it was now roused up, and it was 
neither silent nor motionless [in exacting] vengeance 
on the devil. Now Rabban knew these things by 
means of a revelation from the Holy Spirit, which 
said, "Repentance befitteth not the devil, but only a 
"punishment such as will be helpful to him." Then 
the blessed man rose up from his prayer being sor- 
rowful, and his soul was suffering pain because of 
the destruction of that devil. And because he had 
Foi. 82 b not the I means to do that which he had learned from 
the indication [given] by heaven, the holy man looked 
up into heaven, and said, "O our Lord Jesus Christ, 
"Who art merciful and compassionate, shew mercy 
"unto me [in the matter of] this wretched devil, and 

Christianity, and was martyred at Damascus in the reign of Decius or 


"although his end must come by the death of his 
"body through a punishment of this kind, do Thou 
"make his soul to live on the day of Thy revelation, 
"O our Lord Jesus Christ." Then the holy man an- 
swered and told the guardian angel [who was] with 
him (i. e., Ignatius) to desist from his care of him, and 
as soon as the angel had gone away from him, he 
commanded the fiends [which held him] to drop him 
down from the heights of air into the deepest depth, 
and the fiends did as they were commanded by Rab- 
ban. And straightway he fell down, and his bowels 
were rent asunder, and the men of his faith took up 
his body and buried it ; as the Arians did who gath- 
ered up the portions of the body of Arius* to bury 
him, even so did the sons of these [heretics]. 

And when Ali the governor saw this wonderful 
thing which Rabban Hormizd had wrought, he brought 
his son, who was vexed by an evil devil, before the 
holy man, and said unto him, "Lay thou thy right 
"hand upon the head of this my son so that the fiend 
"may flee out of him ;*' and Rabban did according 
to what the governor had said | unto him, and the Foi. 83 a 
devil went forth from the young man. And the devil 
cried out, and said, "Woe is me ! Fie' upon thee, 
"O son [Page 104] of Persians ! Cursed be Persia, and 

^ Of the manner of his death Socrates says (ZTw/. Eccles,, i. 38) : — 
"Soon after a faintness came over him, and together with the eva- 
"cuations his bowels protruded, followed by a copious haemorrhage, 
**and the descent of the smaller intestines ; moreover portions of his 
"spleen and liver were brought off in the effusion of blood, so that 
"he almost immediately died." 

^ In Syriac rtlaof^t the Greek w Bia, 1. ^., "By Hercules T* 


*^every thing which she hath sent upon us through 
**thee !" And suddenly the devil flew into the air, 
and he was never again [seen]. Then Ali embraced 
Rabban again, and said unto him, "In truth I under- 
"stand now that thou art the faithful servant of God, 
**and that thou acceptest not the person of any man ; 
"thy Lord hath indeed judged Ignatius the sorcerer, 
"although thou didst pray to thy Lord that he might 
"live ; but he did not live because thy Lord, accord- 
"ing to His will, desired his death more than his life." 
Then Rabban went out of the city of Mawsel in 
unspeakable triumph, and by his means Divine Grace 
wrought many wonderful triumphs, besides the healing 
of the son of the governor of the city of Mawsel, 
and many other similar healings which can neither 
be described nor written down in this history lest it 
become [too] long and the reader thereof become 
exhausted.* Now when Rabban and his companions 
went forth from the city of Mawsel, they did so by 
night, secretly, and without any man knowing of their 
going forth, [and they did so] because of the mighty 
crowds of people which were thronging him ; and he 
arrived at the waters of the Tigris, and he walked 
Foi. 83 6upon this I liquid substance^ as upon dry land. 

Chapter XXIV. 
Hye S)eat(7 of Jlabban 4)6rmt5&. 

And when he had arrived at his monastery, and 
had gone into his cave, and had rested himself from 

1 For -*^t7v A%A»^ read .^JLo^^o ; the mistake is mine. 

2 Literally, **fluid nature." 


the toil of his journey, the ship of his soul began to 
enter into the haven of the kingdom on high. And 
he called unto Gabriel his servant, and said unto him, 
**My son Gabriel, knowest thou that the day wherein 
"I shall sleep with my fathers draweth nigh, and that 
"I am going to travel the road of all the earth and 
*'all the world ? My son, gather the whole brother- 
*'hood together ;" and they smote the board for sum- 
moning the brethren, and they were all gathered to- 
gether unto him. Then he said unto them, **0 my 
"beloved brethren, the time when I shall be set free 
"[from the body] hath arrived. I have finished my 
"course, I have kept the faith, and according to my 
"thoughts there is laid up for me a crown of righteous- 
"ness, not for me only, but also for those who have 
"embraced the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
"which is from heaven. Ye have heard [Page 105] of 
"my career of contendings — now I speak only to in- 
"cite you thereto, and I seek not to boast myself — 
"in fasting and in prayer, in vigil and in self-denial, 
"in strict abstinence and in austere life, in cold and 
"in heat, in hunger and in thirst, in the cruel stripes 
"which were inflicted by rebellious devils, [ in deadly foI. 84 a 
"punishments of various kinds, and divers [calamities 
"arising] from sufferings, and wars, and hateful and 
"abominable fiends, in the wants which arose through 
"heretics, and in wants which arose through lying 
"brethren. Now therefore, O my brethren and sons, 
"take heed unto yourselves, and be strong in your 
"faith, and also in your doctrine which ye have heard 
"from me during the whole of the time which I have 
"been with you and unto this present ; O my beloved, 


"keep ye these things and do [them] unto the end 
"in the good hope of your sure faith, and fight ye 
"the good fight of the faith of Jesus Christ. If now 
"ye thus keep your souls, it shall be the redemption 
"of your lives — for ye know that such is the will of 
"God, good, acceptable, and perfect. I am a feeble 
"man, but do ye, my sons, fight and bear yourselves 
"strenuously in performing the work of God. Ye shall 
"not possess either gold or silver, but ye shall keep 
"these things that ye may inherit for yourselves the 
"benefit of life ; and may our Lord Himself, in His 
"grace, glorify you, and guide you into the straight 
"road of His saints, and may He mercifully lead you 
"on your way until ye attain unto that [perfection] [ 
Foi. 84 b "for the sake of which Christ, in His grace and mercy, 
"followed after you. Amen." 

Then Rabban stretched out his holy hands in prayer, 
and said, "O good Lord, Merciful Father, Who alone 
"hast care for the redemption of the race of the 
"children of men, have compassion on Thy servant, 
"and by Thy grace remove the sins, follies, and weak- 
"nesses of him, myself, for I have sinned before Thee 
"[Page 106] all the days of my life. Thou knowest that 
"I am clothed with a frail nature, and although I am 
"unworthy, receive Thou my spirit from me in peace, 
"[and let it abide] with those upon whom Thy com- 
"passion hath shewn mercy, O Father, Son, and Holy 
"Spirit. Amen." And again he answered and said 
[unto the brethren], "Remain ye in peace", and then 
he shut his eyes and held his peace ; and he opened 
his eyes once more, and sealed the company of his 
sons with the sign of the Cross three times, and said, 


"Remain ye in threefold peace" ; and died. Then 
there came down the hosts of light, and the legions 
of the spirit, and the angelic beings in their grades 
and ranks, and surrounded that holy body ; and there 
breathed forth from him the sweet odour of spiritual 
beings, and the brethren were not able to draw nigh | 
unto that holy body for a space of about two hours, FoI. 85 a 
until the beautiful odour of the angels had departed, 
when they all drew nigh and fell upon the body of 
their holy father ; and the voice of their weeping 
went forth for a long time. And the multitudes of 
the spiritual beings accompanied the soul of the bless- 
ed man with the sweet sounds and the sublime words 
of their praisings until they had made it to take up 
its abode in the Eden of the Paradise of God, where 
[abide] the spirits of the just men who have been 
made perfect. And the report of the death of the 
righteous man was heard in the cities of BalMh, and 
Mawsel, and Ma*all6th§., and in the countries round 
about his monastery ; and great and uncountable mul- 
titudes of people from these countries gathered to- 
gether, and his sons, and the bishops, and priests, 
and deacons, and a congregation of believing men 
extolled him for three days and three nights, and 
then they dug in the martyrium of the monastery a 
little cave in the rock and they laid him therein.' 
And he hath now become a fountain of help unto 
all those who take refuge in him in faith, and his 

^ The remains of Rabban H6rmizd are buried under the altar 
of the church dedicated to him ; see my Book of Governors^ vol. i, 
p. CLXXI. 


prayer is [Page 107] a strong rock unto all those 
Foi. 85 b who take refuge in him in faith, and who call upon 
him when both near and afar off. 

Now the blessed man had rest from his labour and 
trouble on the Second Day of the week which fol- 
loweth the First Day of the third week of the Resur- 
rection. And the years of the life of the blessed man 
upon earth were eighty and five years ; [he lived] in 
the world, twenty years ; in the Monastery of the holy 
man Rabban Bar-ldta, thirty-nine years ; in the Mon- 
astery of Risha, six years ; and in his own monastery 
twenty - two years. * May God, Who made him to 
triumph in the height and in the depth, and in Whose 
Holy Church the beauty and splendour of his glorious 
and divine deeds and life have sent rays of light, 
make his praiseworthy, exalted, and sublime deeds to 
shine [with those] of the beings of the spirit. And 
let all those who have lived in the monastery in which 
he brought his noble life and deeds to an end find 
mercy and compassion before our Lord, and may they 
be worthy to enjoy happiness in the kingdom of hea- 
ven and the good things which never come to an 
end. And we make supplication unto Christ our Lord 
that He will make to rest upon his monastery the right 
hand of His Providence, and may the priests, and the 
believing men, and all sorts and conditions of men, 
Foi. 86 a who have extolled our holy father with us in his com- 
memoration this day, be preserved by his prayers 
from all the troubles and afflictions of disturbed times. 
And may all our congregation, both priests and be- 

^ But, 20 -j- 39 -f- 6 -{- 22 years = eighty-seven years, 


lieving men, in the world which is to come and is 
for ever, enjoy his praises with the joys of the king- 
dom of heaven by the grace and by the mercy of 
our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. And may praise ascend 
to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, 
from the two churches of spiritual beings and of beings 
who are in the flesh, now, and always, and for ever 
and ever. Amen. 

[Page 108] Here endeth the history of the glorious 
life and deeds, and of the divine triumphs of the 
righteous anchorite, the true ascetic, the seraph in 
the flesh, Rabban Mar Hormizd the Persian. May his 
prayers be upon the whole world, from one end there- 
of even to the other. Yea and Amen. 

Colophons. — i. This [copy of this] history was 
finished in the blessed | month Nisan, on the second FoI. 86 b 
day, on the Fifth Day of Easter Week, of the year 
one thousand, eight hundred, and ninety-two of the 
Incarnation of our Lord and God Jesus Christ. Glory 
be unto Him that maketh times and seasons to pass 
away, whilst He Himself never, never passeth away. 
Yea and Amen. 

2. [This copy] was written in the blessed village 
of Al-K6sh, the village of Nahum the prophet, which 
is set, and built, and laid out by the side of the 
Monastery of Rabban Hormizd the Persian ; may our 
Lord protect it by His mighty right hand. Yea and 

3. [This copy] was written in the days of the Father 
of fathers, and the Chief of shepherds, and the Head 


of all the churches, who bindeth on crowns, who anoint- 
eth priests, who fasteneth on girdles, who raaketh 
[priests] to hold staves, who bestoweth ecclesiastical 
dignities. Mar Eliya the Thirteenth, the Catholicus 
and Patriarch of Babel of the East. May Christ our 
Lord establish his throne to the end of days through 
the prayer of the Apostles and Fathers. Yea and 
Foi. 87 a 4. [Page 109] [This copy] was written by the hands 
of the feeble and sinful deacon, 'Isa, the son of Isaiah, 
the son of the deacon Cyriacus, from the village of 
Ekr6r which is in the country of the Send3.yg, and 
who hath his habitation at this time in the village of 
Al-K6sh. I entreat the pious readers [of this history] 
to remember the scribe in their prayers which will 
be heard [by God] that, perhaps, compassion may 
be shewn unto him before the throne of Christ our 



Zl)t 7lutf)ot'e Declaration of f)ie 25elief. 

[Page 113] In the Name of the Father, and of the foi. i a 
Son, and of the Spirit ; Three Persons and 
One Nature ; 

One everlasting Essence ; One self-existent Being ; 

One Creator, One self-existent Being, One God, 
THE Lord of all things ; 

Who in His love and compassion created all things 
out of nothing ; 
5 God, the hidden self-existent One, Who possesseth 
Three co-equal Persons ; 

Essence, and Word, and Life, One Divine Nature ; 

Essence is called the Father, the Word Who [pro- 
ceeded] from Him is a perfect Son. 

His Life is called the Holy Spirit, a Nature simple 
and uncompounded ; 

Of the Essence of the Father His Word and His Life 
are not accidental qualities, 
TO But they are Persons of His self-existent Being, One 
Nature, One God ; 

And as the Sun possesseth being, together with ra- 
diance and heat, 



And is one nature and not three, even so is the self- 
existent One ; 

Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit, co-equal in Nature 
and in self-existence ; 

And in power, and in dominion, and in lordship, and 
in knowledge ; 
15 The Father of all is from all eternity, and the Son 
Foi. I b is born the Child | from all eternity. 

And the Holy Spirit proceedeth [from the Father] 
from all eternity, [and they are] of the Nature 
of the Father, and are co-equal with Him ; 

The Father, and His Word, and His Life, are co- 
equal in Natures and Persons, 

And they are co-equal in honour, and in strength, 
and in divinity, and in will. 

^i(lory of tl?e origin of t^e metrical t>er(ion of tlje iLife of 

[Page 114] By the might of the Father, and of the 
Son, His Word, and of the Holy Spirit, His 
20 One Nature, Three in Person, the Lord and Crea- 
tor of the worlds. 

By the mercy of His love, I draw near, I the 
feeble one, who worship him, 

Abraham, the most sinful of men, from the coun- 

And I have gathered together diligently, and have 
composed most carefully. 

^ He was probably a native of Adiabene. 


A discourse made of feeble words in the fourth tone, 
25 On the praiseworthy history of our glorious and holy 

Rabban Bar-ldta,' the chosen one, who is called the 

"sun of the east". 
It hath been composed from a trustworthy discourse^ 

at the command of our honourable father, 
Mar 'Abhd-tsho' , the holy man, the Metropolitan | of foi. 2 a 

the country. 
According to a request made to my simpleness by 

the sons of the blessed [village of] Beth Ghfir- 

3o The glorious and upright priests Rabban Shem'on, 

and John, 
And the priest Abhd-Isho*, and the distinguished 

And the rest of the community of the faithful of the 

well-protected church of Beth Gh<irbS.k, 
[Who] made this request of me because the [full] 

history was [too] long, 
And they were unable to read the whole of it to the 

faithful on the day of his commemoration. 
35 And on my part, I, the least among the followers of 

Christ, and the most contemptible of the sons of 

Assented to the demand of my lords, and accepted 

their beloved entreaty. 


' He was a contemporary of Jacob of B6th 'Abh^, Babai of Nisi- 
bis (A. D. 569 — 628), lsh6*-yahbh of Arz6n, and many other famous 
ascetics ; he must not be confounded with Bar-'Idta, a contemporary 
of Sahdona. 

^ /. ^., he has based his discourse upon a trustworthy history. 


Not because I am a scribe, or because I am a writer 

of books, 
But in the love of Christ, I took upon myself the 

burden of their sweet love. 
That perchance, by His love and mercy, and by the 

prayer of Rabban Bar-'Idtd, 
40 And by the prayers of the above-mentioned brethren, 

our Lord might strengthen and give me wisdom. 
And that the Power which created everything, both 

that which [came into being] from something, 

and that which [came into being] from nothing, 
Foi. 2 b Might, by the | prayers of the Apostles who loved 

His Name, dwell with me and bring [the work] 

to a conclusion. 
[Page 115] Thy might, O Jesus Christ, my Lord, which 

gave life unto Lazarus and raised him up 
I beseech to support and help the might of Thy ser- 
vant that it may not lack [understanding]. 
45 O ye brethren who believe truly, ye freeborn sons of 

B6th Ghurbak, 
Open unto me [your] ears with help, and the tried 

eyes of [your] heart[s]. 
That I may relate unto you openly the history of our 

father, the **sun of Athor",' 
Rabban Bar-ldta, the trumpet and the poet of the 

Holy Spirit. 
This history of our pious and holy father, Rabban 

50 The chosen one, was composed by Mar John,^ his 


^ I, e., the Nestorian diocese of Mawsel. 

2 He was probably the author of the work which the priest Abra- 

bar-'idtA's birthplace and family. 167 

May the memory of Rabban Bar-ldta be for blessing 

before the Lord, 
And may his prayers be upon us, for ever and ever! 

Yea and Amen. 

Ti)e (Lift of »av^'3Dta. 

On the banks of the river Euphrates, and in the pro- 
vince round about. 
Is a village, the name of which is Raspi, that is to 

say Rfisapa," 
55 And from this village, as we have learned, according 

to the genealogy of the world. 
Sprang this our father. Mar Bar-'IdtS., the holy man. 
He was descended from righteous, and good, and 

merciful parents | who were believers, Foi. 3 a 

And they possessed abundant riches, and goods, and 

great glory. 
And he had a sister who was ten years older than 

he was ; 
60 Now she was the daughter of the father of the holy 

man, but not of his mother. 
And when the holy man was only a few years old. 
His parents departed from the life of time unto that 

of the spirit. 

ham turned into verse ; he flourished about A. D. 660, and was the 
author of lives of Abraham, Bar-'Idta, and Kh6dihwai, the founders 
respectively of the Monasteries of Mount Izli, Rar-'Idtd, and Beth 
Hale. See Duval, La Littiraiure syriaque, p. 223. 

^ Probably the city in Mesopotamia which is also called Sergio- 
polis, after a certain Sergius who was martyred there with Bacchus 
and Leontius early in the IVth century. 


And the two, the holy man and his sister, remained 

behind, and they had none other to share the 

inheritance with them. 
Now the name of the holy woman who was the sister 

of the holy man was Hanah-tsho*, 
65 And she filled the place of a father and mother unto 

She inclined not unto the flatteries of this transitory 

And she cast behind her back the whole world, and 

the beauty thereof. 
[Page 116] She fell not down through the obstacles of 

Satan, who leadeth men captive. 
And she chose the better part, like Mary, the sister 

of Martha. 
70 Her soul was weary of the world, and like Onesimus, ' 
The young child, her brother, who as yet knew neither 

good nor evil, 
Foi. 3 b She directed, and led him onwards to progress, | and 

helpful understanding. 
Like Melania,^ she not only raised herself up 
Out of the filthy mire of the. world, but she made 

strong her brother also, 
75 And she plucked two-fold excellence, for herself and 

for her brother. 
And like one who receiveth a double crown she 

received perfection. 

^ /. e., Onesima, the daughter of Antiochus the king ; see Asse- 
mani, B. O., III. i, p. 284, col. 2. 

^ Either the famous Roman lady who was born about A. D. 350 
and died A. D. 410, or her grand-daughter who was born about A. D. 
385, and died about A. D. 430. 

bar-*idtA*s sister hAnAh-Isho*. 169 

Now although nature had endowed her with a beauti- 
ful and perfect form, 
And a fair and lovely appearance, and a face like 

the sun, 
To the Creator of her fair beauty she offered her 

beauty as an offering, 
80 And she guarded the integrity of her virginity unto 

the wedding chamber of the grave. 
What then [happened] after the death of their parents? 
Certain men among her kinsfolk were looking to take 

the chaste woman to wife. 
One for the sake of her great beauty, and another 

for her riches ; 
But when she learned this she left her country alto- 
85 Having sold everything which their parents had left 

She distributed [the money] among the poor, and the 

widows, and the monasteries, and the churches. 
According to the command of Christ our Lord, Who 

in His Gospel commanded His friends, | [saying,] Foi.4a 
"Sell all your possessions, and give them as gifts to 

the wretched and the needy.''' 
But she left a little of the money for the rearing of 

her beloved brother, 
go Then she renounced her human kin, and went away 

from her acquaintances, 
And taking hold of the hands of the saint, Rabban 

Bar-'Idta, her brother. 

^ St. Matthew XIX. 21. 


She came to the city of Nisibis/ that is to say An- 

tioch of Mygdonia ; 
[Page 117] And in one of the convents for woman 

which are round about S6bha,^ 
She entered and took the garb of the covenant with 

Christ, the Bridegroom of heaven. 
95 And the chaste woman Hanah-tsho' established her 

brother Rabban Bar-*IdtS. 
Near her, that is to say, she placed him in a school, 
That he might read the Psalms of David, and get 

hold upon the art of singing {pr^ reciting) words, 
And might write the letters and copy books, although 

he was still of tender years. 
From evening until morning he lived in the house 

with his sister, 
100 And in the day time she used to carry him with sweet, 

consoling words to school, 
And every evening with great care she took him back 

to her house. 
And every morning she would carry him to the house 

of instruction with watchfulness.^ 
And she was careful about him that he did not defile 

his youth by the habits, 
Foi. 4 b Filthy, corrupt, | and abominable, of the children who 

loved nasty ways. 
105 Sometimes she would frighten, and sometimes encou- 
rage and flatter him. 

' A very ancient city of Mesopotamia which under the form **Na- 
sib-na" is mentioned in the cuneiform inscriptions ; it lies 120 miles 
N. E. of Nineveh. 

2 A name of Nisibis. 

^ The text has f^St^^O^^ja, but read r^it^CUa. 


She made him afraid of this world and made him love 
that which is to come. 

And while he passed the night in her house and was 
sleeping in sweet sleep, 

She was hovering about him in prayer and suppli- 

For our mother Hanah-tsh6\ the woman adorned [with 
virtue], used to say, 
no "For a space of thirteen years that was a matter to 
me for special prayer." 

Until the time wherein he received the garb of the 
ascetic life, 


And on his behalf were her prayer and entreaty to God. 
Now when he had learned the Psalms, and all the 

hymns, and the occasions, 
And he had been taught and was well able to read 

and write, 
115 She took him to the great school,' the mother of the 

learned men 
Who are all appointed throughout the east, and who 

water the world with their learning. 
And he was taught and trained in the Scriptures and 

in their interpretations, 
[Page 118] And he passed all who were in front of 

him, and those who were behind him went in 

[after him] * 

His mind was marvellous, and the aim of his actions 

was straight, | 
120 He was gentle and simple in his heart, and wise and foI. 5^ 

enlightened in his understanding. 

^ Probably the great college of the Monastery of Mount Izla. 
^ The text has "went in fully". 


Remote from him was the exaltation which clingeth 
Unto men of keen motions of the mind, and disturb- 

eth their thoughts. 
Little by little he advanced and attained the age of 

perfect manhood, 
And he was remote from pleasure, and from converse 

with the worthless. 
"5 Besides the service of the refectory and all the needs 

The monks had nothing [to do] except to receive 

And to relieve the wayfarers, good and bad alike. 
And when they were free from these things they were 

constant in the service 
Of the Psalms in the temple and in the monastery, 

and in vigil by nights, 
i3o And in watchfulness of the times [of prayer], and in 

prostrations on the earth. 
Fasting at eventide daily, incessant prayer every hour, 
Meditation on the Holy Scriptures, the purification of 

the thoughts of the soul. 
And heart[s] which burned for each other with love 

and holiness. 
Now our father lived as a coenobite for three years, 

as it was meet and right for him to do, 
i35 And then he went forth to a cell with the blessings 

and prayers of his fathers. | 
Foi. 5 b He dwelt alone in a cell, even as Mar Abraham* had 

commanded him. 

^ Probably Abraham, the head of the College of Nisibis, who suc- 
ceeded his uncle Narses about A. D. 508. 


But as for his labour and service, who saw [them] 

and who can describe [them] ? 
His cell was very far away from the church and the 

And the place of the righteous man was contemptible, 

and barren of every kind of food. 
140 He was not fettered by buildings, nor by bodily gra- 
He was not held fast by constructions, and he neither 

pulled down nor built up, 
He collected neither furniture nor books to put in his 

[Page 119] And he shewed forth no care in the pre- 
paration of dainty meats. 
And wines for drinking and such like things never 

appeared in his cell. 
145 From one week to another he received his food from 

the common [table]. 
And each week he took from the library one book. 
He was constant in silence and quiet contemplation 

and enquiry concerning the books of the Spirit. 
No man ever saw him outside his cell, except on the 

day of the congregation," 
He possessed neither acquaintance nor friend, nor a 

companion who shared his cell. 
150 For he lived the life of a solitary monk, and bowed 

his head over the earth. 
And only fastened his gaze on the path before his eyes. 
Now I the holy man Mar Abraham was in the habit FoI. 6 a 
Of going past the cells of the novices each night, 

^ /. f., Sunday. 


And of going in love to the brethren, and shewing 

them in the Lord, 
155 How they were to do battle with Satan the Adver- 
sary in the contemplative life. 
That they might not at the last be weak before the 

wiles of the crafty one, 
For he feared lest any man should turn his back in 

the fight and should perish. 
And when he saw our blessed and excellent man 

Rabban Bar-'IdtS, 
That he was more versed and learned than the rest 

in the Holy Scriptures, 
160 He required of him perforce to repeat every week 

one book. 
That is to say, from one Sunday to another he was 

to repeat one book, 
Because it was very easy to him to repeat whole 

books of the pious 
Mar Theodore the Great,' the expositor of the Books 

of the Spirit. 
This was the habit of our father, the holy man Mar 

165 And he used to persuade us daily, whilst smiling in 

his humility. 
That work should be heavy upon men, that they should 

think thereon with all their might. 
And should not in the time of youth ponder on empty 

words and vanity. 
F0I.66 [Page 120] Our father | Mar Bar-'Idta, the holy man, 

used to say 

^ /. e,f Theodore of Mopsuestia, commonly called the **Expositor"; 
he died A. D, 429. 


That Mar Abraham laid upon him the repitition of 

the entire Scriptures, 
170 And therefore, "in certain years, of the Old and New 

**I repeated each and every word, in sections like the 

"And the sweetness of the repetition of the Books 

of the Holy Spirit, 
"By reason of the sweetness of the joy thereof, I am 

unable to utter. 
"As concerning the books of the Fathers, which are 

read from end to end by the old men, 
175 "Abba Isaiah,' and Mark,^ and the blessed man Mar 

"All these I worked at in my mind, and I toiled at 

the repetition of them by heart, 
"Until at length I did not once substitude the word 

ger for den throughout. 
"I could repeat the book of the holy man Mar Gre- 
gory of Anzeyanzo,* 
"And the Book of Histories,^ and the discourses (<?r, 

sayings) of the Fathers one to another. 
180 "I could also repeat the composition of the blessed 

man Basil,^ 

' Probably Isaiah, the famous ascetic of Scete. 
2 /. e,y Mark the Monk who flourished towards the end of the 
IVth century at Scete. 

^ /. e,y Evagrius of Pontus who died about A. D. 398 at Scete. 

* /. e,y Gregory Nazienzenus, born A. D. 32o, died A. D. 3go. 

^ Probably the **Paradise" of Palladius, and the "Sayings of the 

* Basil the Great, of Caesarea, born A. D. 329, died A. D. 379. 



"And I could repeat all the epistles that [were written] 

to the holy monks, 
"And the Book of Mar Nestorius which is called 

"Which, in my days, had but recently gone forth 
Vol 7 a from I Greek into Syriac. 

"I laboured at this book for years, and I was always 

185 "By heart some of the sections thereof wherein was 

[spiritual] merchandize. 
"During all the years which I remained with Rabbaa 

he never let me cease 
"From the repetition of books ; and inasmuch as I 

was obedient to his loving command, 
"And because I offered up my soul into his hands, 

I entered into the life which is in God, 
"I never let drop one of his words, and I never treated 

lightly one of his commands. 
190 "Whensoever he came to me, and whensoever I went 

to him, 
"He would take my ear, and pinch it, and say to me 

smiling :— 
"Hast thou filled the Euphratean air with the words 

of the repetition of the Scriptures ? 
"[Page 121] 'Hast thou filled the Euphratean air with 

the words of. the Books of the Spirit? 
"And at the beginning I used to think that with some- 
what of contumely 
195 "He reproached me in mockery about the river Eu- 
phrates which is set in our country. 

' See Assemani, B. 0,, III. i, 36. 


"And I said unto him with a smile, *0 Rabban, I 

will not renounce 
"The naming of our river, the Euphrates, nor that 

of our village Riisapa. 
"Now he was likening me to the full-flowing river | 

Euphrates, FoI. 7 b 

"And was calling me by its name in a laughing man- 
ner in gladness and in love. 
200 "And the holy man Mar Abraham said unto me laugh- 
^ . " 'It is not that Euphrates of which thou thinkest, O 

son of Christian growth, 
" *But the spiritual Euphrates by the streams of which 

is now planted 
"*The Holy Church, after which her son Bar-'Idta 

hath been called."'* 
These things from the mouth of our father did the 

holy man Bar-*Idta, 
^05 The good and blessed man, hear, as it were blessing 

his disciple. 
Now our father continued in such works as these for 

many years. 
And because the monastery was in sore straits, and 

was lacking in everything needed by the body. 
Except only the daily bread, which was given unto 

the community 
From Sunday to Sunday, that is to say, grain for the 

whole week. 

^ There is a play of words here on the word (<^:ian d>.t^) and 
tlie name r^d>.t^ la. 



210 Those holy men were constrained to go forth in the 

fields to work, 
And to collect whatsoever was needed to supply their 

Now, by reason of this, our father, Rabban Bar- 

Who could write books beautifully, accurately, and 

learnedly, [made copies of books]/ 
For there were very few who were able to write as 

our father could write, 
215 And also | his sister bore the burden of his apparel, 

and he was not obliged to go forth. 
Therefore his intimate friends used to laugh with him, 

**Thou art like a lamb which sucketh milk from two 

ewes in Christ." 
Now he was trained and exercised in his keenness 

of perception and knowledge 
More than all his brethren, because he had been 

directed by his master. 
220 And for this reason his master, the holy man Mar 

Abraham, commanded him 
To read the Holy Scriptures on the nights of the 

First Day of the Week. 
He possessed a sweet, soft voice, in which were found 

pleasant intonations. 
His manner of expression was vigorous, and his man- 
ner of turning it in his mouth was subtle. 

' /. e., he made copies of books and sold them, and with the 
money he bought food ; and as his sister supplied him with clothes 

he needed nothing else. 


Also, on the day when he was reading the brethren 

collected their thoughts 
225 And quieted their minds for the hearing of his sweet 

For his word would drive away sleep from the eyes 

of the brethren. 
To this man, who from the day[s] of his childhood 

was the heir of words of the Spirit, 
Jeremiah, many generations ago, ascribed blessing. 
And said unto the Lord, | his Creator, in his pro- FoI.8 6 

phecy thus : — 
23o "Blessed is the man who shall bear Thy yoke, O Lord, 

in his youth, 
*'And shall dwell alone in contemplation, and have 

rest from the passions of time.'" 
His rearing by his guide was like unto that of Jacob 

the patriarch. 
Of whom Moses the Great wrote, ''He was upright 

and just before his God." 
And [he was] like the glorious virgin, Joshua, the 

son of Nun, the mighty man, 
235 Who during all his days departed not from the 

tabernacle of the Lord of hosts ; 
And like Samuel, who ministered all the days of his 

Chastely, and continently before Eli the high priest. 
And as the Holy Spirit set blessings in the mouth of 

Noah, the chosen one, 
Which were sown by the just man Noah in Shem, 

and from the seed of Shem He chose Abraham, 

^ Lamentations III. 27, 28. 



240 And of all the sons of Abraham the blessed Isaac 

was set apart, 
And from Isaac He raised up Jacob, and from Israel 

[Page 123] And of all the sons of Judah the Lord 

chose David His servant, | 
Foi. 9 a And, because of the purity of his heart, made him 

to rule over Mount Zion, which He loved. 
Even so did the Spirit of the Lord choose this father 

of ascetics, 
245 The holy man Mar Abraham, the chief of the monks 

of the East. 
And the Lord of Abraham, the prince of believers, 

commanded him, and said unto him, 
"Get thee into the land of promise that in thee all 

nations may be blessed."* 
This latter Abraham, the chief of the holy men of 

the East, 
Did the Divine Nod call, and say unto him with a 

250 "O Abraham, Abraham, flee from men, and thou 

shalt live ;" 
And he obeyed, and went forth from his country, 

like Abraham his father. 
And he went about in deserts and wildernesses, and 

in the Mount of Olives, and Mount Sinai, 
And he went down to the city of Egypt, and dwelt 

in the desert of Scete. 
And suddenly he sprang up in the high mountain 

which was about the city of Nisibis, 

' Genesis XII, i — 3. 


y 255 Like David, the son of Jesse, in Mount Zion, whom 

the Lord had chosen, 
A likeness which was comparable to the archetype, 

the first Abraham, 
[To whom] the Lord said, | **In thy seed shall all the Foi. 9^ 

peoples of the earth be blessed." 
And to this latter Abraham the Lord said, "From thy 

'*Will I fill all the East with priests, and men of 

religion, and ascetics." 
260 And when the Monastery of the holy man Mar Abra- 
ham was filled 
With perfect and strenuous men, and mighty men of 

Sons of the life and deeds of angels, who emulated 

the pattern of spiritual beings. 
Who appeared like the stars of heaven among that 

congregation which was full of grace. 
Even as Jacob, the chief of the Tribes, said to his 

sons in a revelation, 
2Cis "Gather ye yourselves together, and I will shew you 

what shall happen unto you in the last times;"* 
Even so unto this holy man Mar Abraham was it 

[Page 124] For his Master shewed him where his sons 

should be sent, one after the other, 
And how he should build the monastery, and how he 

should end his life 
(Now this was shewn unto Rabban in a Divine reve- 
' lation). 

^ Genesis XLIX. i. 


270 And how was fulfilled the promise of our Lord to 
Pachomius/ [saying], 
"I will never forsake thy spiritual seed on earth/' 

Section I. 

Foi. lotiNow on the day of the congregation, on the holy 

First Day of the week, 
Mar Abraham the Great selected the commemoration 

of the chosen Apostles [for reading], 
Without informing any one of his company of sons 

what was in his heart ; 
275 And at the time of the Holy Mysteries, before they 

were distributed to the people, 
Our father stood up before the gate of the apse, and 

cried with his voice, and said, 
*'By the apostolic choice the Holy Spirit set apart 

preachers ; 
**For it is written that the Spirit said thus : — *Set 

apart for Me Saul and Barnabas 
"For the work unto which I have called them from 

the beginning.'^ 
280 "In like manner with us, who are sluggish and erring, 
"Doth the Holy Spirit work in respect of many men 

among you. 
"See ye that ye strive not, lest ye appear to be resist- 
ing the Spirit, 
"And ye make God angry with you, and He cast 

you away from before His face. 

' He was born in Upper Egypt, A. D. 292, and died A. I). 351. 
2 Acts XIII. 2. 


"Now, I am your father, and this have I learned in 

the Lord." 
285 And as they were all still and wondering, and no 

man spake through fear, 
He called our father, the excellent Rabba Bar-'Idta, 
And the holy man George,' and the old man MarFoi. io6 

And when they had all drawn nigh to Rabban, he 

took a hendndy^ and signed their heads, 
And blessed them, and said unto them, "May the Lord 

of hosts magnify you ; 
290 "[Page 125] May the Lord Most High make you glorious, 

and give you triumph in your works ; 
"And may His Name be glorified through you, O 

my beloved ! 
"O my friends, take heed that ye acquire neither gold, 

nor silver, 
"Nor lands, nor homesteads, nor fields, nor vineyards, 
"But let your own strenuous hands be sufficient to 

feed you, 
295 "And let not them be opened wide to receive, and 

closed tight against giving, 
"Open ye your gates for the entrance of rich and 

poor [alike], 
"And give ye alms regularly to both orphans and 

"Sanctify your hands to the Lord, and gird up your 

loins with truth. 

^ See Gismondi, De Pairiarchis Nestorianorum Commentaria, part II. 
p. 28 (Rome, 1897). 
2 See above, p. 73. 


"And light your lamps with the oil of love and com- 
3oo "Teach and make [men] learn diligently, and toil and 

be spent strenuously, 
"Let your faces drop sweat in the cultivation of the 

vineyard of your Lord. 
Foi. iiaKeep ye | the watch of your Redeemer, until such 

time as He cometh to make you live again. 
"And light your lamps, my children, for it is the time 

of the reconciliation of the Lord, 
"And teach ye those who shall become your disciples 

even as I have taught you, 
305 "And pray ye unto the Lord for them, and make 

supplication on their behalf. 
"And keep ye your souls in piety, and your bodies 

in holiness, 
"Keep vigil every night for their sake unto God, 
"After the manner of men who have committed their 

thoughts unto the Lord of all. 
"Guard yourselves carefully against boys, and receive 

them not into your habitations. 
3io "Receive ye not any man until his mind be well 

known unto you. 
"Love ye each other in concord even as Christ hath 

loved you. 
"And any man, who these three bright lights of the 

Holy Church — 
"Mar Diodorus,' the chosen one, and Theodore, and 

Nestorius — 

^ Presbyter of Antiocli, and Bishop of Tarsus, who flourished 
about A. D. 38o. 


"Will not accept as teachers, and will not confess 

them in truth, 
315 [Page 126] "Shall not in any wise mingle with you, 

and shall be rejected by your assembly. 
"And the blessed monasteries which ye shall build | 

ye shall name after the Apostles, FoI. 1 1 1 

"For they suffered death for the Church awaiting the 

return of the Lord. 
"0 my sons, command ye your sons to consecrate 

their cells 
"In the names of the Apostles and by their prayers, 

for they are the foundations of the Church. 
320 "Your sons shall first of all serve in the monastery 

for three years, 
"And then they shall deserve the freedom which is 

in Christ, the Lord of the worlds. 
"For the reading between the Psalms of the Sundays 

and days of assembly, 
"Let the expositions of the teacher of the world, Mar 

Theodore, be read. 
"And before the Atoning Mysteries, and over the table 

where food is eaten, 
325 "Let the holy Books of the Fathers [who were] ascet- 
ics be read, 
"And the introits of the glorious festivals, and the 

discourse on the Divine dispensation 
"Of Mar Ephraim,^ the teacher of the truth, and [the 

works] of Mar Narses,^ the tongue of the East." 

' He died about A. D. 373 ; for his works see Duval, LitUrature 
syriaque^ p. 75 ff. 
» ^ He died about A. D. 507 ; for his works see Duval, op. cit.y 

pp. 346, 347. 


Now when these things had been said, after the re- 
ceiving of the Mysteries, 
He set these three men at the head of the holy- 
33o First was Rabban Bar-'Idta, and after him Rabban 

Foh\2a And after him the old man | John ; three great lights. 
And Rabban himself blessed them, and commanded 

each to pass in peace, 
And he laid upon them the hand of blessing, and 

prayed over them in love ; 
And thus he did unto all his disciples whom he sent 

out into divers places. 
335 In the night they had prayer, and they were set apart 

[to receive] the Mysteries. 
And after the church was dismissed, and the brethren 

had gone into their cells. 
The old man took the three of them, and led them 

up to his cell. 
He set apart the old man John for the great and 

mighty desert 
Along the Tigris of the 'Edhnaye,' opposite Athor, 

which is well known. 
340 [Page 127] The excellent Abba George he sent with 

gladness to Marga 
On the borders of the city of Nineveh, and of the 

prosperous Beth Ntihadhra.^ 
And for this our Rabba, Mar Bar-*Idta, the holy man. 

^ /. ^., that section of the Tigris which extends for about sixty 
miles to the north of Mawsel, and about ten or fifteen south of it. 
^ Marga and Beth Nuhadhni lay to the north-east of Nineveh. 


He set apart this place which is in Marga and is 

nigh unto Nineveh. 
On the morning of the morrow each of the three was 

345 To perform that which the holy man Mar Abraham 

had commanded him. 
There went forth with them the rahb^ and old men 

of the congregation, and accompanied them, FoI. 126 
And then the old man blessed them, and he and his 

sons returned to the monastery. 
And each of the three set his steps and went down 

the path which led directly to his place. 
And each of them was accompanied by every one 

who was bound to him in love. 
350 When Abba John went down he was alone, and no 

man was with him, 
But afterwards there came to him Eliya and Henan-lsho". 
Unto Rabban George there came three brethren 
Of those who clave unto him, friends and intimate 

How many were the visions and revelations which 

the holy men had 
355 Before the coming of Rabban Bar-'Idta to the country 

of Marga ! 
Rabban Bar-'Idta went forth from the monastery where- 
in he had been taught, 
And there were with him nine blessed brethren, good 

and chosen men. 
Bar-Hadh-be-Shabba, and Daniel, and Yapht, and 

Simon, and David, and Zachariah, 
And Micah, and Elijah, and M^bharakh, wonderful 

and holy men. 


36o Mebharakh was a young man about twenty- | two 
^"^•V^^ years old, 

And was from the country of Mar Bar-'Idta, from 

'Anath, a city on the river Euphrates. 
When Rabban and his disciples had gone down and 

had reached the borders of Nisibis, 
He sent the blessed man Mebharakh after his holy 

Hanah-tsho', who had reared him, that he might see 

her before he went to his country, 
365 [Page 128] Lest she should hear of his departure, and 

choke herself with sorrow. 
And behold, when he saw that she was coming to 

him, and she had drawn nigh, he stood before 

And suddenly he bowed down to the ground before 

her, and accorded unto her the honour which 

was her due. 
And he revealed to her the cause [of his departure]. 

And the two began to weep, 
And the blessed old woman entreated him to take 

her with him, but he refused, 
370 Saying unto her, "Nay, mother, nay, O gracious 

Now he had always honoured his sister by this ap- 
pellation of "mother". 
Even before he became a perfect vessel which was 

fit for his Lord's will. 
And instead of an imperfect man became an angel 

of light. 
"It is not seemly, O my mother, and not good among 

men of discernment, I 


375 "That women should travel on the road with men;Foi. 136 

it would be a disgrace. 
**Now since we have no certain place as yet in the 

"And we know not what may happen unto us on our 

journey in the Lord, 
"Remain thou here in peace, O blessed woman Hanah- 

"And be not thou distressed with trouble and sorrow 

for thy brother's sake, 
38o "But multiply thy prayers for us — for this day we 

are old men — 
"That our Lord may make straight our goings in the 

paths of His loving will. 
"And when, through Christ our Lord, and the prayer 

of Abraham, 
"And the prayers of the brethren and thyself we 

arrive at our place in peace, 
"I will send Mebharakh after thee, and he shall bring 

thee unto us. 
385 *'And, if the Lord willeth, O my sister, do thou what- 
soever appeareth [best] for thine old age." 
And having thus quieted the desire of his sister, they 

went onwards, 
And the Divine Grace accompanied them on their way. 
And at that time, the holy man and ascetic, who was 

worthy of all blessings. 
Mar tsho'-Zekha, was the head of the Monastery of 

Sho'e," in the country of the Arabs. 

' This monastery was situated on the west bank of the Tigris, 
probably on the road between Nisibis and Mawsel, or Nisibis and 


390 [Page 129] And | because they heard that he had raised 
i^oi. 14^ to life a man who had been slain four days, 

And his fame had been carried everywhere, they 

desired greatly to pass by him. 
And the blessed man M^bharakh said, "Whilst we 

were on our journey 
"Suddenly there fell upon us a company of thieves 

who were wicked men, 
"And when we had come up with them in [the 

strength of] our Lord, and they had seen our 

old man, 
395 "They stood still, and [then] came and did homage 

before him, and besought him to pray for 

"And having gone onwards a little farther, behold. 

Mar tsho'-Zekha, the chosen one, 
"Came out to meet us and to salute us, holding his 

staff in his hand. 
"And with a smile he bowed down in peace before 

the feet of our pious father, 
"And our Rabban also bowed down in homage be- 
fore him, and was blessed by him. 
400 "And he said, *0 my masters and brethren, I was 

standing with you at the hour, 
" When ye came to the thieves, who were made to 

be quiet through your prayers.' 
"Then he took us and led us into his monastery, and 

made us all to rest our fill, 
"And he marvelled at the wisdom of our father Bar- 

'Idta, and praised him before us. 
"And when we went forth [next] morning Mar Isho'- 

Zekha went forth with us. 


405 **And he prophesied to ] our old man everything which Foi. 14 b 
was to come to pass in his days. 

Section II. 

"And Mar Joseph, of the Monastery of Tabhya,' saw 
by the spirit, and revealed unto our father, 

**[Saying], 'Wheresoever thou art there shall be no 
disturbance, and thou shalt dwell without fear.'" 

And having crossed the river Tigris, and all the coun- 
try of Beth Niihadhra,' 

They arrived at the great school of Beth Rastak, a 
village of Marga, 
410 And they passed the night [there] and departed early 
in the morning to the glorious Monastery of 
Risha ; ^ 

And they went in, and were blessed by the Abbot, 
Stephen,* the prince of perfect men. 

And he informed them of what the angel of the Lord, 
their Governor, had informed him, 

[Page 130] [Saying], '*By your hand a monastery shall 
be established in the quiet plain of Marga, 

"The place of a holy monastery; behold, it is be- 
tween Nineveh and Marga. 
415 "Beth Helape and Beth Hakhranya are two blessed 

' /. e., the Monastery of the Gazelle. 

^ /. e., the country between Baladh on the south and Halmon on 
the north. 

^ This monastery was also in Marga, but its exact position is un- 

** Perhaps the Stephen mentioned by Thomas of Marga (see Book 
of Governors, vol. 11. p. 43), 


"And to the south of them [lieth] the beautiful, peace- 
ful, and well watered plain : 

"This is the place which our Lord hath set apart for 

you that ye may build therein a great monastery.^ "And when ye are therein there will come | unto you 

a company of the prophets, 

"And they will encourage you in the Lord^ because 
it hath long ago been revealed unto them con- 
cerning you. 
420 "With them is everything which is useful for your 
satisfaction and encouragement, 

"And ye and they shall set apart a place for the 
altar and one for the community. 

"And thou, O brother Bar-*Idta, art about to become 
the head of the monastery, 

"And thy sons shall be as numerous as the stars, 
and thy seed as the sand of the sea. 

"Now know this thing also : Thy holy and chaste sister, 
425 "Hanah-Isho', by God's grace, since He hath multi- 
plied her gifts unto her, 

"At the beginning of the Fast of the Apostles shall 
go with her companions 

"To Jerusalem, the city of the Sanctuary, by the help 
of the Lord God, 

"And at the beginning of the latter Teshrin* she shall 
come down to thee in peace, 

"And near thee she shall build a house of sisters, 
and therein shall she be laid to rest, 
430 "And as ye have been close together in the body 
in this world. 

' /. e., November. 


"So hath Christ allotted to you both nearness together 

in heaven. 
"Rise up in our Lord, and travel ye on your way, 

and with you shall be the captain of the hosts 
"Of the Lord in the form of a driver of horses of 

fire and spirit." | 
And Mar Stephen comforted us and made us gladFoi. 15^ 

with all these [words], 
435 And we were filled with gladness and praise because 

we had seen a prophet in our days. 
And he and we stood up, and he commanded prayer, 

and concluded it with blessings upon us all, 
And he kissed each one of us upon his head with 

fervent love. 
Then the head of the monastery answered and said 

unto us, "Ye will pass by the village of Kop,* 
"And there shall come out unto you a man who hath 

a son that is vexed by devils ; 
440 "Pray ye that his son may be healed, and the [son's] 

father shall give you a gift. 
"Now the name of the man is Zanzapar6kh ;"' and 

his word came to pass indeed. 
And we arrived at the place which had been made 

known at daybreak on the Friday 
Of the third week after the Resurrection of my Lord 

Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. 
In the morning of that day we rose up and went 

about hither and hither on the plain, 

^ /. e,, Kop near Akra. 

2 /. e,j Zadhan-parruh, £*i ^jbU J see Noldeke, Geschtchie der 
Perser, p. 356, note i. See below, line 643. 



445 That we might spy out a suitable place whereon we 
could begin to build the monastery. 

And on the morning of Saturday the company of 
prophets came, 

And with them were such things as were necessary 
for our own comfort and for the building. 

And the angel of the Lord had shewn unto the mar- 
Foi. 1 6 a vellous man | Mar Joseph 

That which was written in the heights concerning our 
coming hither, 
450 And with him was Rabban Gabh-fsho', his disciple, 
who had been reared with him. 

And eight other brethren, who were sons of his beau- 
tiful Monastery of Tabhya. 

Now the Monastery of Tabhya is on the king's high- 
way which passeth over the bridge 

That leadeth over to the city of Hedhayabh,' and 
Beth Garmai,- and the mountain. 

And they brought with them two camels laden with 
bread and wheat, 
455 And things of divers kinds of which we had need. 

And they began praying in the East, and we also 
prayed in the West, 

And we all drew nigh each to the other, being in 
number about twenty. 

And each saluted the other in love and in unutterable 

And our happiness was such that we imagined we 
were in the world which is to come. 

' /. <?., Adiabene. The river to be crossed was the Great Zabh. 
2 Beth Garmai lay to the east of the Little Zabh. 


460 Now the old man Mar Joseph appeared to be a 

By reason of his very great age : he was more than 

one hundred and thirty years old. 
[Page 132] And he said unto our Rabban, "Rise up, 

let us measure the place for the temple, 
"Even according as it appeared unto us through the 

Spirit Who revealeth hidden things unto those 

who love Him." 
And we all rose up diligently, and the old man Mar 

Joseph was with us, | 
465 And we took a measuring cord,' which the sons of FoI. i6d 

truth had brought with them. 
And the holy man Mar Joseph took one end of the 

And Bar-'Idta the other, and they measured out the 

temple and the altar. 
And they set the altar which they had brought with 

them inside the [place of the] altar which they 

had marked out by pegs, 
After this we sat down together, we and they, and 

held converse. 
470 And Mar Joseph began to relate one vision after 

And the revelations which had appeared unto him 

and his brethren, in truth. 
Concerning the coming of our father, and the fixing 

of a place for the monastery. 
And the great number of the monks, and the delights, 

and the troubles. 

' /. e.f a cord divided into a number of equal parts by knots. 



And when eventide had come, according to custom, 

at the ninth hour 
475 We recited the Psalms of David, and celebrated the 

Holy Mysteries, 
And with gladness we rejoiced in the Eucharist of 

our Lord ; 
Foi. 17 a And we performed the services of | compline, and of 

the night, and of the morning according to the 

use of our monastery. 
And at the third hour we celebrated the Mysteries 

according to [our] use. 
And then we rejoiced in the food of the spirit, and 

in the food of the body. 
480 And the blessed MS.r Joseph rose up in his great old age 
And dug up three spadefuls [of earth] as ^ blessing 

in [the place of] the foundations of the temple. 
And he encouraged Rabban, and said unto him, 

"Brother, have no care whatsoever : 
"As long as we have anything it is thine ; do val- 
iantly in the might of the Lord. 
"And moreover, thou art [ordained] to arrive at the 

happy goal of God, 
485 "And good sons shall increase for thee in all the 

land of the East.'* 
[Page 133] And he took Abba Gebha-fsh6', and one 

camel, and they departed. 
And returned to their monastery, and the other camel 

which they had brought they left for us. 
And he commanded his eight disciples to remain with 

us and to build with us. 
As long as we had need of them ; and they were 

rejoicing with great joy. 


490 And the Rabba of God, Mar Joseph, the beautiful 

old man, 
Went into the village of Barzakhe, and into the blessed 

B^th Maruth, 
And commanded certain of the villagers to come to 

our help — 
Without j our asking for them — as being something Foi. 17 b 

which the Lord wished. 
Now, behold, on the morning of the second day men 

were gathered together and came, 
495 And we were wondering at them, and whether they 

had come to make us cease [work]. 
But when they had come to us, they informed us, 

[saying], ''Rabban Mar Joseph sent us 
"To build the blessed monastery of the honourable 

Rabban Bar-^Idta." 
They brought with them iron, and whatsoever was 

used in building. 
And they began the work with us ; and we rejoiced 

and glorified God. 
500 Then the strenuous Mebharakh drew nigh unto our 

lord, saying, 
"My father, whence can^we obtain bread for all these 

[men] ?" 
Our old man saith unto him, "Gather ye together 

roots and pieces of wood, 
"And bake cakes, O my beloved, before the meal- 
time Cometh." 
Now those blessed believers heard Mebharakh saying 

these [words] 
505 To the venerable Rabban Bar-ldta, and they an- 
swered, saying, 


"Nay, Abba, ye shall not labour [thus], for, behold, 
bread is coming after us. 

"Because Rabban warned us that ye had no building 
ready for the baking of bread." 
Foi. i8fl And when we all had been making bricks | and mud 

for two days 

Our Abba dismissed the disciples of Rabban Joseph, 
510 And he said unto them, "Depart in peace, O ye 
children, unto your own place. 

"[Page 134J Henceforth the young believers shall under- 
take the burden of the building, 

"It is neither right before God, nor seemly before 

"That ye, O excellent sons, should be yoked to the 
labour of mud." 

And the believing folk round about us heard, the 
sons of Beth Bar-Shira, and of Babhetha, 
515 And of Beth Hurnaya, and of Beth Hilap^, and of 
the villages near Nineveh, 

And many crowds of well known believers made ready. 

And came to help us either with money for the ex- 
penses or with labour. 

Thus by the grace of Christ, and by the support of 
the believers. 

In that first summer we began and finished the building, 
520 In the year eight hundred and seventy-three,* accord- 
ing to the reckoning of the Greeks. 

When Khosrau* (Chosrocs) the First, (the grandfather 
of king Khosrau, 

1 /. e., A. D. 562. 

2 /. e,y Khusrau I. Anosharwan, who began to reign on July 12, 
A. D, 531, and wliose reign ended in February A. D. 579. 


That is to say, Khosrau,' the son of Hormizd/ the 

last king of the Persians), was king. 
And when Mar EzekieP was the Patriarch of the East, 
And when Mar Henana was the spiritual head | and FoI. i8 b 

525 Bishop of Arbil,* that is to say, the city of Hedhayabh 

On the holy First Day of the week, on the twentieth 

day of Nisan,^ 
The holy man Mar Bar-'Idta laid the foundations of 

his monastery, 
And the believing men our neighbours became our 

diligent helpers, 
And we began it and finished it in* the summer, which 

is already written above in our discourse. 
530 We built the temple, and the monastery buildings, 

and cells ten in number, 
For we were brethren ten in number at the beginning 

in this place. 
For Rabban Bar-'Idta we built a cell even as Mar 

Commanded, below the temple, upon a rock above 

the fountain, 

' /. e., Khusrau II. Parwez, who began to reign A. D. 590 (see 
Noldeke, Geschichte der Perser und Arader, p. 435), and reigned for one 

2 /. e., H6rmizd IV. who began to reign on June 3o, A. D. 578, 
and reigned until A. D. 590. 

^ He sat from A. D. 567 to A. D. 580 ; see Assemani, B. O, III. i, 
pp. 435, 615 ; the Persian king who was reigning in the year of the 
Greeks 873 (A. D. 562), was Hormizd IV. and not Khusrau I. 

^ Arbil, or Arbela, was the capital of Adiabene, and was also called 


^ /. e,, April. 


For the angel of the Lord, in the form of the old 

man Joseph, appeared 
535 Unto Mar Hananya, the head of the Monastery of 

Geshra, which is on the Great Zabh. 
[Page 135] And Rabban Bar-'Idta dwelt in the rest and 

peace of his service. 
And Bar Hadh - beshabba , and Daniel ; may their 

memory be for blessing ! 
As for the rest of us we took up the affairs of the 

Foi. i9^The service | of the temple and of the monastery, 

before the brethren who came as disciples in- 
540 And we remained without possessions, except only 

the one camel 
Which the holy man Mar Joseph of the Monastery 

of Tabhya had given unto us. 
She carried the wood, and ground the corn for the 

And she by herself performed all the bringing in of 

things for the community. 

Section EL 

One day the disciple of Rabban, that is to say, 
M^bharakh, laughingly 
545 Answered and said, ''Abba, we have need of another 

"Which shall be a companion and associate of this 
camel which we have here now ;'' 

And this was said by the blessed man as if in pro- 


And, smiling at him, our father said unto him, **My 

beloved Mebharakh, 
"If Christ knoweth that it will be beneficial a camel 

will come speedily.'' 
550 Then the strenuous Mebharakh said unto him, "If a 

camel were to come to us 
"We would make a mill here, and we should be able 

to grind [the corn] easily, 
"And the brethren would not be fatigued by going 

to a distance | whenever [they needed] the mill;" Foi.igt 
And the blessed old man said unto him, "The will 

of the Lord be [done] !" 
On the following Sunday, behold, a certain man who 

was a believer came 
555 From the blessed and well-protected village of Beth 

Ghiirbhak, which is in the country of Nineveh. 
And he was holding a camel by the head rope, and 

was leading it and coming unto us. 
And he asked us, saying, "Where is the cell of the 

glorious Rabban Bar-'Idta?" 
And we shewed him the old man's cell, and we went 

in with him to the holy man. 
[Page 136] And he bowed down on his knees to our 

father, and kissed him, and was blessed by him, 
560 And he gave him greetings from the Nekhwarjan,* 

an upright believer, and a nobleman, 
The lord of the [above] mentioned Beth Ghurbhak, 

and said unto him, "The Nekhwarjan doeth 

homage unto your love, 

^ /. e,, Nakhirajan, ^^Ks^^j^, a title meaning **prince*' ; see N61- 
deke, Geschichte der Perser, p. 152, note 2. See below, line 770. 


"And hath sent this camel to you as a blessing, that 

ye may pray for him, 
"And also for his camels which are sick even unto 

Then Rabban Bar-'Idta gave him a hendnd^^ and 

565 And said unto him, "Salute our friend, Nekhwarjan, 

and salute his village, 
"And when thou hast come unto him in peace, 
Foi. 20 a sprinkle some of | the hendnd upon his camels, 

"And God shall heal them and drive out from them 

the pestilence." 
Now when he had come to Beth Ghiirbhak, and had 

sprinkled some of the hendnd on the camels. 
They received healing easily through the prayer of 

Rabban Bar-'Idta. 
570 And little by little the name of this holy monastery 

became known. 
And benefits began to flow forth therefrom into all 


Section IV. 

Now when we had fulfilled one year there departed 

from this temporary life 
To the mansions of the kingdom on high. Mar Joseph, 

holy of soul, 
On the first Friday after the Resurrection of our 


' The dust of a martyr's body, or from the ground of the cell or 
grave of a holy man. A little was mixed with water for the purpose 
of making a curative drink, or with oil for anointing purposes. 

* /. t\, consecrated oil. 


575 And Rabban went to the funeral of the holy man, 
and we with him, 

And also the holy woman, Rabban's sister, the fine 
gold and beauty of chastity. 

During the year she came to us with other women 
her companions, 

And built a nunnery for herself above the village of 

By the side of the road which goeth unto the flourish- 
ing country of Marga. 
580 In her humility she built her nunnery in the name of 
the martyred woman Pambr6niya' 

Who I testified in Nisibis in the days of Diocletian, voizob 

[Page 137] After she had lived twenty years she de- 
parted from this world unto Paradise, 

Being eighty and three years old in [her] holy life. 

Section V. 

Now in the mountain of Alpep,- in the Monastery of 
Mar Mattai,^ the holy, 
585 When we came here in the beginning, our brethren 
used to dwell, 

' A lady who lived in the city of Nisibis and who was martyred in 
the reign of Diocletian about A. D. 304. Selenus, an officer of the 
Emperor, wished to marry her to his nephew Lysimachus, but she 
refused to be married, and Selenus put her to death in a very cruel 
manner. The narrative of her martyrdom will be found in Ac/a Sanc' 
iorunii June 5. 

2 /. e,y Jabal Maklub near Mawsel. The name Alpep is said to 
have been given to the mountain because of the thousands, Alpaiyd 
(rdaif^), of monks who lived there. See Hoffmann, Auszuge, p. 19. 

^ Mar Matthew was put to death in the reign of Sapor I., who 
began to reign A. D. 33o. 


Before the monastery was overthrown by means of the 

madman Zakkai, 
[Who was sent] by the infidel Gabriel,^ the physician 

of the valiant Khusrau. 
Now the name of one of [these] brethren was Ish6*- 

Sabhran, a blessed man, 
A chaste and humble man, and one who feared the 

living God. 
590 This man came continually to Rabban, and he, with 

his companions, 
Two other brethren, asked him to let him leave his 

own monastery and to come to us. 
And our Rabban prohibited them from ever doing 

this (/. d'., coming) again. 
Saying, "When it is convenient I will tell you to come." 
Fo\. 21 a And in like manner two other brethren, who dwelt 

in the Monastery of Kokhta,' 
595 Used to come unto Rabban and entreat [him] to let 

them come to us. 
Now we complained of our father because he did 

not wish them to come to us. 
That the brethren might have increased, and the 

monastery might have been filled with them. 

' /. e.f Gabriel of Sinjar, a famous physician who was high in 
favour with Khusrau II (A. D. 590 — 628) and with his queen Shirin ; 
see Bar-Hebraeus CAron, Eccks., II, col. 109; Assemani, B. O., II. 
404, 416; Noldeke, Geschichie, p. 358 ; Hoffmann, Auszuge, pp. 118 — 121. 
By the use of the word *'infidel", the writer only means that Gabriel 
was a Jacobite ! 

2 This monastery is identified with the Monastery of Mir Mattai 
by Bar-Hebraeus ; sec Chron. Eccles,, II. col. 67 ; and I. col. 285. On 
the name see Hoffmann, Ausziige, pp. 176, 177. Kokhta here probably 
means "wind**, or, vji^k3 *Tyb "pleasant wind". 


But our father, in his humility, softly and pleasantly 
Used to say unto us always, "Nay, my sons, nay, 

my sons, ye must not do [this]. 
600 "It is neither pleasing before God, nor just to men, 
"For us to become the cause of the decay of these 

[holy] places which now [exist]." 
Now the old man used to tell us that "the Monastery 

of Kokhta 
"Was in former times the seat of the Metropolitan 

of Hedhayabh,' 
"And the glorious Mar John, one of the Three 

Hundred and Eighteen,^ 
605 "[Page 138] Built it after the name of the church of 

Kokhe,^ which was the Patriarchal throne, 
"Which was built by him that was blessed in all 

things, Mar Mari,* the apostle of the truth, 
"Who first taught the East the knowledge of One God : 
"K6khta, that is, 'daughter of cakes', of the throne 

of Mah6za Rabba,^ 
"Also Selik^ of Seleucus^ the king, | and Kalya^ of Foi. 21 1 

Nimrod the Cushite. 

* /. e.f Adiabene, See Assemani, B. O. II. p. 99 of the Disseriatio 
de Monophysitis, under MonasL S, Matthaei. 

2 /. ^., the 3i8 bishops who attended the Council of Nicaea A. D. 325. 

^ Kokh^ is the name of the very ancient city which was restored 
by Seleucus and called "Seleucia**, and which became the seat of the 
Ncstorian Patriarchs ; the city of Ctesiphon stood close by. 

"♦ See Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles,, II. col. 15 flf. ; Gismondi, Maris 
Amri ei Slibae, II. p. 1 ff. 

^ /. e,, the "Great Fortress" = Selcucia and Ctesiphon. 

* /. e,, Seleucia. 

^ /. e.y Seleucus Nicator, who died B. C. 281. 
® I, e.y Kalneh, or Ctesiphon. 


6io "And the Mar John whom we have mentioned was 

taken from Kokhta by the command of 
"Shabhor," the Persian king, who slew him because 

of his testimony for Christ. 
"Thus the shrine of the holy man Mar Mattai, the 

fellow soldier 
"Of Rabban Mar Awgin^ the Great, was [also] the 

monastery of Mar John. 
"And it is not right that we should be the means 

of the destruction of these [places], 
615 "For behold, the time of their destruction by another 

draweth nigh. 
"And these blessed brethren, and many like unto 

"Will come to us afterwards by reason of the suffer- 
ings [caused by] the sorcerers." 
And his word actually came to pass through the 

lascivious Gabriel, 
Even as we will relate, if our Lord willeth, at the 

end of our discourse. 

Section VI. 

620 Now a certain man of [the village of] Babhetha, 

whose name was fsho'-Apri,-^ 
A believing and God-fearing man, who did the will 

of his Lord, 
Had a beloved son, and through the agency of Satan 

' /. e,, Shapur II., who reigned from A. D. 309 to A. D. 379. 
2 A brief summary of his life will be found in my Book of Govern- 
ors, vol. I. p. CXXV ff. 

^ /. <?., "Jttsus made to blossom" {or, bear fruit). 


His two eyes had been blinded, and his hearing had 

been taken away ; 
And his father set' him on an ass, and brought him 

to Rabban at the monastery, | 
625 And having left him in the martyrium he went down fo1.22<7 

to the old man and told him concerning him. 
Then Rabban commanded him, [saying], "Stay ye 

here both of you this day in the martyrium, 
"[Page 138] And behold, I will command the brethren 

to pray for him before Christ ; 
"To-morrow morning bring thy son unto me, and 

believe, and doubt not, 
"For everything can come to pass for him that be- 

lieveth in God." 
63o So the believing man did according to the command . 

of the holy man. 
And in the night our lord visited the young man, 

and he was healed by his prayer. 
Then [the father] brought him in to Rabban Bar- 

'Idta both seeing and hearing. 
And we also rejoiced with them, and we glorified 

the God of the universe. 
And the believing man and his brethren asked that they 

might make this monastery heir to certain land, 
635 But Rabban did not wish [it], and said to them, 

"Blessed are ye by the Lord of hosts ! 
"My children, let the land be yours, for ye have 

need of the produce [thereof], 
"And let it be for the benefit of such children as 

God hath given unto you. 

' Literally, "threw him." 


Foi. 22 b "And if we also now acquire | lands and fields 

"To what end are we called ascetics and monks? 
640 "Nay, nay, ray children, ye must not do [this], and 
we will never do it, 
"For our Lord hath commanded us not to possess 
either gold or silver." 

Section VII. 

And there was also a man of the village of Kop,* 

Zandhaprokh,^ who belonged to our land, 
Over him our father prayed outside, and a devil went 

forth from his son. 
And when this young man had grown up, and had 

gotten understanding, and had learned how to 

read and write, 
645 He came and was a disciple in our monastery through 

our Rabban. 
Now the name of this man was Teris-tsho", and he 

was perfect in body, in soul. 
In mind, in humility, and in the rectitude of fair deeds 

and life. 
[Page 140] Now the father of this Teris-tsh6' wished to 

do an act of grace to us. 
And he went, against the command of Rabban, and 

bought us some land for our monastery, 
650 In the middle of the plain of Marga, a piece^ five 

miles in extent. 

' /. e,, K6p near Akra. 

2 /. ^., Zadhan - parruh ^p o^^U ' ^^^ Noldeke, Geschichie der 
Persery p. 356, note i. See above, line 441, and below, line 809. 
* Literally, "a journey." 


For many thousand [pieces] of gold ; now he was 

exceedingly rich. 
And having informed Rabban [thereof], he chid him, 

and said to him, "We do not need [it]. 
"Our Lord commanded | us that we should not love FoL23a 

this world. 
"If we were to seek this world, what should we leave ? 
655 "And [as for] Teris-tsho' this day God is his Father." 
And a second year having passed he built on the 

land a little market, 
And it was called "Beth Kopiya", the name of the 

village of Zandapirdkh.* 

Section VIII. 

And Rabban used to say to his sons, "It is right 
that as concerns an ascetic 

"By his appearance, and by his speech, and by his 
dress, and by his gravity, 
660 "And by his cell, and by his actions, and by his 
sitting down, and by his rising up, 

"It should be known by all beholders that he is lead- 
ing the life of the angels." 

The sons of the holiness of Rabban behaved accord- 
ing to his word in love ; 

Those who had cells sat down and rose up by measure ; 

For those among them who were monks ^ a little 
window to give light 
665 He opened, facing the sun, that a man might read 
and perform service. 

' See above, lines 441 and 642. 

^ /. e,y monks who lived in separate cells. 



He was within the door of the very small house all 

the day, 
Foi. 23 b And at night he went forth [ for his needs and his service. 
As concerning those who dwelt in graves they gave 

no care whatsoever, 
Either to gardens, or to trees, or to beds of green herbs. 
670 [Page 141] Moreover, many of them never came to the 

And the monks who lived together used to carry 

food to them, and set it in the windows. 

Section IX. 

In the days of the Catholicus, Mar Sabhr-Ish&V the 

holy man, 
Khusrau,* the king, the son of Hormizd, the king of 

the Persians, asked him 
[Saying], * 'Gather together, Catholicus, the bishops 

of the East, 
675 "And the most strenuous of the ascetics, and the 

renowned teachers with them 
"That they may make it clear before Khusrau how it 

is that the East confesseth 
"The Adorable Trinity of Father, and Son, and Holy 

"One praiseworthy Substance, One Nature, One Self- 
existent Being, 

' /. e,t Sabhr-lsho* I., who was a native of Perozabhad in Beth 
Garmai; he was apointed Bishop of Lashom, and afterwards, A. D. 
596, Patriarch, and he died A. D. 604, being more than 80 years old. 
See Assemani, B, (7., II. p. 415; III. 1.441 — 449; Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. 
Eccles., II. 107; Guidi, Un nuovo testo Striaco, pp. 10, 15; Gismondi, 
Maris Amri et Sltbae, pt, L p. 50; pt, II. p. 29 f. (Latin translation.) 

2 Khusrau II. Parwez reigned from A. D. 590 to 628. 


"And how it is that possessing One Nature Three 

Persons are counted, 
680 "And while Three Persons are declared One of them 

precedeth not the Other, 
"The Father not preceding | the Son, nor the Son Foi.24d 

preceding the Holy Spirit, 
"But being Three they are co-equal in self-existence 

and nature, 
"And being One they are acknowledged Three with 

praise and adoration. 
"And let them make clear also how it is that the 

orthodox Easterns confess 
685 "The mystery of the Incarnation of Christ with two 

And Rabban wrote to the monastery of the holy man, 

Mar Abraham the Great, ^ 
And Mar Babhai^ the Great came down, and other 

holy men with him. 
And afterwards he sent others, believing and enlight- 
ened [pry learned) men. 
And with them was a letter of the Catholicus to our 

father [Bar-'Idta], 
690 For he did not wish to go down himself to the gate 

of the kingdom of Khusrau. 
And there [went] our Rabban, and the chosen one 

Mar Babhai the Great, 

' /. ^., the Monastery of Abraham on Mount Izla, near Nisibis. 

^ Many particulars are given of this great man by Thomas of 

Marga: see Book of Governors^ vol. II. pp. 46, 57, 90 fF. Babhai was 

a native of Beth Zabhdai, a district on the Tigris near Jazirat ibn Omar, 

and he flourished from A. D. 569 to 628. See Hoffmann, Ausziigey 

p. 121 ; Assemani, B, (7., III. i. p. 88; and Guidi, Un nuovo iesto, p. 17, 

at the foot. 



[Page 142] And it was they who wrote down the con- 
fession of the true faith, 
Which is this day acknowledged in the divine books. 

Section X. 

Let us now come to the writing down of the sad and 
sorrowful history 
695 And of the painful repentance of the | righteous man 
Foi. 24 b ^jjQ sinned and repented. 

There was a certain bishop from the countries round 

about us — 
It is not seemly for us to make known which because 

it may offend the hearers — 
Now, as for this bishop, Yazdapneh' was his name 

and title. 
Because of his beautiful and good works the Enemy 

had envy of him, 
700 And Satan cast him down through a woman, and did 

away his episcopacy, 
For he was vanquished by his evil imagination, and 

became a mocking unto many. 
And having remained for a short time [in sin] his 

soul condemned him and reproached him. 
And he roused himself from his slough, and fled from 

the stinking thing which he served. 
And he rose up by night, no man knowing it, and 

he came to Rabban quickly, 
705 And told him about his fall, and about his shameful 


' /. e., Yazdpanah, «\Jb >^^ ; see Hoffmann, Auszuge, p. 87. The 
name occurs again in lines 718, 724. 


When the old man heard he wondered greatly, and 

he wept over him as over a dead man, 
And he embraced him, and kissed him, and said to 

him in great suffering, 
"Woe to our frail nature! [See] how it hath been 

overthrown in its fall 
"Through the evil Calumniator, the father and lord 

of wickedness. 
710 "Despair not, O my brother, despair not of thy life Fo\.2sa 

which is in Christ, 
"And I will be a participator with thee in thy peni- 
tence in all that is necessary. 
"Thou hast fallen like a man; rise up like a mighty 

man in the Lord. 
"Strong men fall and rise up again, but weak men 

fall and perish. 
"Take heart, O my brother, take heart, and despair 

not in our Lord ; 
715 "[Page 143] Rouse thyself, lest the end come, and thou 

depart in thy foul sin." 
So Rabban took him to his breast, and commanded 

us to build a cell 
Some distance from the monastery, saying, "I have 

need of it for myself." 
And Rabban took Yazdapneh thither by night secretly. 
And he shut the door of the cell upon him until a 

certain time was ended. 
720 And he left an opening that [the monks] might thrust 

food through, 
And through which he might see the light of the 

sun and read the Holy Books; 
And Rabban used to go to him every week once or twice. 


And visit him, and he commanded us that no man 

should go to his cell. 
Foi. as^Time having gone by | the matter of Yazdapneh/ 

the frail one, became known, 
725 For he repented before God truly, and He accepted 

him in His grace and mercy. 
This man composed certain verses on penitence for 

And he used to recite them to special tones with 

bitter tears. 
And whenever any one of us wished to weep for 

himself in grief 
He would go secretly by night to his cell and listen 

to him singing. 
730 By day and by night he used to moan like a dove the 

young of which are dead, 
And by reason of his moanings and groanings the 

mountains and plains used to weep. 
Now after three years, he opened his cell, and went 

to live the life of an anchorite in the mountain. 
And Rabban Bar-'Idta made known to us that our 

Lord had accepted his repentance. 

Section XL 

In a village which was situated to the east of us 

called Barzan^, 
735 There was a certain rich man, a believer, and a 

nobleman, whose name was Malbed, 
And through a war [caused by] the Calumniator, he 

and the sons of his house were overcome. 

' See above, line 698. 

malb6d's house is haunted by devils. 215 

And they fled from their father's house, and built 

themselves | another one, and dwelt therein. foI. 26^1 

[Page 144] Now he had silver and gold which had 

been hidden by their fathers. 
But Satan would not allow them to approach near 

the place [where they were]. 
740 Everyone who sought to go there in the daytime 

heard terrifying sounds. 
And in the night the sounds of stones being cast 

down in the courtyard. 
This believing man MalbSd came to our RabbS., and 

informed him, [saying] 
"Behold, for many years [past] the devils have driven 

us from our house." 
And Rabban called to the blessed man Mebharakh, 

and said to him, "O my son, 
745 *'Rise up, and make thyself ready, thou, and Yaft, 

and Simon, and David, and Zachariah, 
*'And Micah, and Elijah, and [take] with you thirteen 

other brethren. 
"And go ye and keep watch this night in the house 

of the believing man Malbed. 
"And Bar Hadh-be-Shabb§, and Daniel shall keep 

watch in their cells. 
*'And I will be with you, in spirit and in body, in 

everything which ye shall do in Christ. 
750 "So that by prayer and supplication before the Lord 

"The operation of devils shall be swept away from 

the house of these wretched folk." 
So Mebharakh did as he had been commanded, and 

the brethren entered | and prayed in the house. foI. 26^ 


And the devils were making them to hear mighty 

and terrible sounds, 
And afterwards the devils made sparks of fire to appear, 
755 And afterwards the devils were sprinkling drops of 

blood upon them. 
And afterwards [came] the sound as of the falling 

of the house which was hidden from them, 
And filthy phantoms, and abominable ghostly forms. 
But they, according to the command of Rabba Bar- 

Idta, may his prayer protect us! 
Neither trembled, nor feared the devils, nor ceased 

singing their Psalms. 
760 And before the cock crew the devils were put to 

shame and vanquished by them. 
And they reviled Rabban Bar-Idta, and cursed his 

disciples, and took to flight. 
But the monks continued in prayer to the God of 

the universe until morning, 
[Page 145] And the believing men were delivered from 

the devils, and all those who heard ascribed 

praise unto the Lord. 
And the name BarzanS was changed by the family 

of Malbed to Shahar Sa^ar, 
765 And he received the headship of Marga for many 

years through Rabban. \ 

Section XII. 

hoi. 27^ 

And Rabban lived here for a period of ten years, 
And the brethren increased in numbers, and the mon- 
astery abounded in holy ascetics. 


Section Xm. 

Now concerning the glorious man Berikh-Isho', who 

was a great friend of our father, 
The son of the Nekhw§.rjcln,* the prince, from BSth 

Ghiirbak, the well built village — 
770 By the dust which was taken from his cell in faith 
Christ used to work all manner of healings on the 

believing folk. 
And every sick person who went into the temple, or 

to Rabban, used to come 
Unfailingly and bow down in worship at the cell of 

Berikh-tsh6' . 
Now, as we were standing one Sunday in vigil and 

general prayer, 
775 The cross which was on the steps of the altar fell 

on the ground and was broken. 
And we were afraid, and as this happened, behold, 

Rabban went out from his retreat 
And came quickly to the temple, and when we saw 

him we ceased from praying. 
And, shedding tears, he answered and said, "Bfirikh- 

Isho* hath departed this life, 
"And hath gone to the country of the blessed, to | his Foi. 27 h 

holy fathers." 
780 Then we went to his cell and saw him kneeling upon 

his knees 
In prayer before God, and we brought him to the 

temple in honour. 


^ /. e,f o^r^»^ ; see above, lines 560, 561, and the note. 


[Page 146] Section XIV. 

Of another brother whose name was Mattai, from the 

country of Beth Garmai,* 
Rabban testified, and said, "He was pre-eminent in 

ascetic excellence." 
They say that he was sent on certain business during 

the summer by Rabban, 
785 And that as he and his companion were going along 

the road, all day long, 
Even during the blazing noon, he turned his face to 

the East, and bowed down to the ground every 

ten steps; 
And he would bow down, and rise up again, and 

his tongue never ceased singing a Psalm. 
Now our Lord wrought a wonderful thing through 

Mattai in the land of Marga, 
In a village called Beth Kesaye, wherein was a deep 

790 Which went down to the abyss, and a wicked devil 

lived therein. 
And he used to appear in the form of a horse unto 

those who passed his way. 
And the people of those villages having come they 
Foi. 28 a complained | to Rabban, 

And besought him to make them a deliverance from 

that devil. 
Then he called this Mattai, and said unto him, "Go, 

my son, with these people, 
795 "And ask Christ our Lord to deliver them from the 


' A district on the left bank of the Little Zabh. 


And when they had departed a little way from the 

village, he took three little stones* in his hands, 
And he made over them the sign of the Cross; and 

he commanded the people, and said unto them, 

"When ye come to the fountain, cast in these little stones, 

"And the power of Christ shall drive that devil thence." 

800 And they did according to his word, and the devil 

never appeared [again], 
Through his prayers and blessings ; and all who heard 

glorified God. 

Section XV. 

There was another man in this blessed monastery. 
Who had become a convert from Magianism to our 

old man, and his name was Yazdadh ; ^ 
[Page 147] And [seeing] by chance a certain woman, 

both of whose eyes were blind, 
805 And wishing to make Yazdadh happy,^ the old man 

said unto him, 
"Lay thy right hand | upon the eyes of this poor koI. 28 b 

woman ;" 
And having done so, her eyes were opened, and the 

people praised and confessed God. 

Section XVI. 

And also [concerning] the holy man Terts-lsho', the 
son of the honourable Zadhnaprokh'* — 

^ Or, pebbles. 

2 A Persian name meaning the "Gift of Yazd". 
* /. e., Bar-*Idta wished to encourage Yazdadh by giving him the 
power to work a miracle. 

** See above, lines 441 and 642. 


They brought to the monastery a certain soldier of 

the army of the kingdom of Persia, 
8io And through the violence of the devils in him he was 

bound carefully with cords. 
Now as they were bringing him into the martyrium 

to bind him with the chain which was there, 
The coenobite TSris-lsho* happened to meet the 

And in the humility of the power of our Lord, he 

drew nigh, and took hold of the man's hands, 
And straightway his devil cried out and left him, and 

he came to his senses, 
815 And they brought the soldier to Rabban, and having 

learned about him he praised his Creator. 

Section XVII. 

Now there was in the congregation of RabbS. another 

Who also had become his disciple, and his name 

was Yawnan,* a glorious man, 
Foi. 29 a This man ministered for ten | years to the comforts of 

And he washed, and nursed, and attended to the 

sick and those afflicted with disease, 
820 And the whole of the time that Dadh-lsho*' was in 

the service of the Community, 
Without [saying] a word he continued in the Lord, 

and he did everything which he was commanded 

at a nod. 

^ Or, Jonah. 

^ A name meaning the Gift of Jesus. 

YAWNAn and the lions. 221 

And when he went out into freedom, he did not build 
himself a cell, 

But he made for himself a booth of twigs at some 
distance away from the monastery, 

That he might perform mighty deeds and healings 
by the power of Christ. 
825 [Page 148] He always supplied himself with food from 
roots and herbs; 

And he had another secret cave near the river Hazar 

Wherein, in winter time, he used to dwell secretly. 

But during the whole of the summer he used to en- 
dure the suffering of the noonday heat. 

Now I myself saw him once resting among the hills 
round about him, 
83o And he was standing in a mountain hollow, and two 
mighty lions 

Were standing before him, in wonder, and he was 
playing with them 

Just as we play with the dogs who watch our flocks 
and herds. 

And the gazelles, and the foxes, and all kinds of wild 
animals used to throng to him just as [if he had 
been] their | fellow. foI. 296 

Now in stern and hard works time passed by him 
835 For nine and twenty years until he became an angel; 

And our Lord wrought by his hand a sign which 
passeth understanding and hearing. 

Some distance away from him he saw thieves plunder- 
ing some men. 

And he took his staff, and went into the wood, and 
sent out a lion on them; 


Thus he saved the men from the thieves, and they 
returned to their houses in peace. 
840 And again a certain sick man whose bones were dried 
up by disease — 

Now his sickness was a very old one, and he had 
been ill for many years — 

In faith went to him, to that little cave in which he dwelt, 

And he entered and slept upon his dust, and straight- 
way he gained healing. 

Section XVIH. 

Let the mouth of the reader be sweetened by the 

story of the glorious man Zakkai, 
845 Who was from the village of Hazza and who suffered 

in bonds for Christ's sake. 
In his youth he endured torturings from the Magians 

for Christ, 
Foi. 30 a And being worn out by tribulations | he came to the 

ascetic life. 
[Page 149] The Lord gave him the gift of knowing 

all secret things 
And of doing mighty deeds and wonders, and he was 

the boast of all. 
850 Now a certain woman whose blood ran away watched 

him as he was going into the temple, 
And she drew nigh to the hem of his garments in 

faith, and laid hold upon them. 
And when he looked at her he wept, and she took 

an oath to him in Christ, 
And he made the sign of the Cross on his hand, 

and thus she received healing. 


Section XIX. 

And the venerable Nisanaya, from the country of 

Debhar Hebhton,' 
855 Was a disciple of our pious father, Rabban Bar-'Idta, 

the perfect man. 
And during his service which he served for three 

years in working the hand mill 
No man ever heard from him a word of weariness 

or of complaint. 
Now when he went forth to his cell he undertook the 

Of becoming gardener in the vegetable garden, and 

of carrying to the brethren their bread. 
860 Now it happened that one | year there were locusts Foi. 30 b 

in our country, 
And they were about to enter into the garden of the 

holy man Nisanaya. 
And he took his stick in his hand, and going round 

his garden in a circle. 
The venerable man said unto the locusts as unto 

beings which possessed knowledge, 
"In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, ye shall not 

have power, O locusts, 
865 "Either to enter into this garden, or to injure anything 

And the locusts submitted to the command of Nisa- 
naya and were obedient unto him. 
And they refrained from injuring him and took them- 
selves away, and this was known unto all men. 

^ Probably the plain of Harir ; see Abbeloos, Ac/a Mar Kardaghi. 
p. 51, 1. 4; and Feige, Die Geschichte des Mdr Abhdishd"^ (p. 3i). 


Section XX. 

At the time when Mar Abhi, the Bishop of the city 

of Nineveh, returned 
From BSth Romaye* in honour, with Khusrau^ (Chos- 

roes), the king of Persia, 
870 [Page 150] The Ninevites were relating unto him the 

triumphs and mighty deeds 
Of our pious, and holy, and excellent father, Rabban 

In a particular, and proper, and praiseworthy, and 

seemly manner. 
Foi. 31 a And the sons of the | blessed [village of] BSth Ghiirbak, 

who were men worthy of good things and blessings, 
Also [spake] to the Bishop concerning the revelations 

which he had seen. 
875 And they said unto him, "When thou, father, wast 

remote from thy children, 
"They were complaining that we did not know whether 

thou wert alive or not, 
"And the old man Rabba Bar-'Idta consoled us greatly, 

and said, 
"'Beloved, be ye not distressed about your holy Bishop, 
"*For he is alive and is [held] in honour in B6th 

880 "*And it is the will of our Lord that ye shall rejoice 

yourselves in seeing his greatness [again]. 
'**Be ye happy, my children, in your hearts, and be- 
lieve that ye shall see him with gladness.'" 

' L e.f the territory of the Byzantine Greeks. 
* /. e,, Khusrau II. Parwez (A. D. 590 — 628). 


Section XXI. 

And when the mighty man Khusrau (Chosroes) fled 

before Behram,* the rebel, 
We went to that holy father, and we told him of 

another trouble, [saying] 
"The peaceful crown of Khusrau (Chosroes) hath fled, 

and the tyrant Behram hath stood on his throne." 
885 And the holy old man answered and said unto us foI. 3i b 

with a smile, 
"See ye how greatly beloved is your Bishop by our 

Lord Jesus Christ, 
"For the king of the Persians goeth after him and 

bringeth him [back] in honour." 
And when we besought him to explain this, he 

answered and said unto us, 
"Behold, Mar Abha the Bishop is kept with Morike* 

890 "And Khusrau (Chosroes) hath fled to Mauricius from 

before the tyrany of Behram. 
"And behold, he is sending with him to help [him] 

the hosts of the Romaye.^ 
"And Chosroes will return to overthrow and destroy 

Behram the rebel ; 
"[Page 151] And Chosroes will demand the Bishop from 


' /. e., Bahram, or Varanes, a famous general who served in the 
armies of Khusrau T. and H6rmizd IV. ; he defeated Khusrau II. and 
usurped the throne of Persia, but was finally vanquished by Narses, 
the general of the Emperor Mauricius. 

2 /. ^., Mauricius Flavins Tiberius, Emperor of Constantinople, 
from A. D. 582 to A. D. 620. 

^ /. e., the Byzantine Greeks. 



"And he will come in glory with Chosroes, and bring- 

with him honours and gifts. 
895 "And now, O our father, thou shalt return in the 

strength of the might of Christ/' 
And McLr AbhS,, hearing these things about this 

prophet of the later [time], 
Marvelled much and wondered greatly, and he praised 

the old man before the believing folk. 
And he stood up with the nobles, and prefects,' and 

freemen of the village of Beth Ghtirbak, 
Foi. 32 a To whom Mir Bar-'Idta | was more beloved than any- 
other man, 
900 And he stood up with joy and came to us in the 

week of the Holy Apostles. 
And Rabban himself at that time was living the life 

of a recluse in his cell. 
And having made known unto him concerning the 

arrival of Mar Abha the Bishop, 
And his loving friends, the sons of B6th Ghlirbak, 

he went out readily to meet them. 
And thereupon the two were blessed, each by each, 

in the love of our Lord, 
905 And MUr Abha took the feet of Rabban and set them 

in his bosom. 
And he bowed himself [over them] and kissed them, 

and passed his hands over his eyes. 

^ The rdlBCo:! were originally the governors of districts or pro- 

vinces. The Arabic form is ^^UA>, plural ^-isli^, and v^^^^ ; see the 
authorities quoted in my Book of Governors, vol. II. pp. 256, 257. Manna 
( VocabulairCf p. iSg) explains rCAoCiXI by ^^'^\^ ^2^<^^vUJ\ ,^y^y 


And said, * 'Glory be to the Lord Who hath held me 
worthy to see your love/' 

Section XXII. 

When came the peaceful crown, Chosroes, king of 

kings of Persia, 
Who had been helped by the mighty and Christian 

kingdom, and 
910 When Mar Ish6'-Yahbh^ of Arz6n, the holy man, was 

Patriarch of the East, and held the chief rule in the 

There was a mighty famine' in every place, especially 

in Marga and in Nineveh. 
The locusts came up from the lower countries and 

covered the earth. 
And they spoiled, | and laid waste, and destroyed Foi. 32 1 

all the crops and plants, 
gj^ And all fruit trees and trees of the forest, and every 

green herb. 
And they defiled the springs, and fountains, and 

wells of water. 
And they left to men nothing whatsoever whereby 

to console themselves in their trouble. 
[Page 152] And the people dried and cooked the 

locusts and laid them up in their houses, 


' /. e,, Ish6*-yahbh I. who sat from A. D. 580 to A. D. 595. For an 
account of him see Gismondi, Maris Amri ei Slibae, pt. I. p. 49 ; pt. II. 
p. 26 (Latin translation). 

^ On famines in Mesopotamia see the notes in Book of Governors, 
vol. II. pp. 336, 337. 



That they might take the place of the daily bread 

and be food for them in the time of famine. 
920 And the people sowed everywhere millet, and summer 

And cucumbers, and water melons, and other small 

vegetables, ' 
And we also, having no means of help, for we had 

no seed whatsoever. 
During the famine gathered together locusts like all 

other folk. 
Our Rabbcl Bar-'Idta himself came forth from his 

925 And urged us to do this work — to collect, and cook, 

and dry, the locusts. 
And many of the brethren, who were feeble of hope 

and childish of heart, 
Wished to depart from this place to a country where- 
in bread was to be found. 
Foi. 33 a And the holy man cried | unto them, and said unto 

them, "What then, my friends, 
"Where can ye flee from the smiting of the Lord of 

hosts? For 
930 *'If He seeketh to correct you, whithersoever ye go, 

there He is; 
"But it is meet that we should bear His correction 

as a thing of benefit, 
"For our God, the Lord of the universe, doeth nothing 

"Behold the wretched children of this world, who 

have sons, and daughters, 
"And on whom heavy burdens rest, they endure, and 

sit quietly in their houses, 

bar-*idtA*s address to the monks. 229 

935 "And we who have neither wives nor anxiety, shall 

we blaspheme God, the Lord of all? 
"Which of all the saints hath not been afflicted in 

this world? 
"Look ye, my beloved, at Abraham, the father of the 

[Hebrew] nation and of the Gentiles, 
"Behold, he was the friend of the God of the universe, 

and the son of the house of righteousness, 
"After he was in the land of promise which had been 

promised unto him, 
940 "The famine waxed strong upon him, and he went 

into Egypt, and his wife was taken away from him ; 
"And Isaac in like manner suffered loss when he went 

down to Abimelech of Philistia ; 
"So also was it with Jacob, the head of the Tribes, 

and also with many others, 
**[Page 153] And with Elisha, and the sons of the Pro- Foi. 33 6 

phets, and Elijah, the prophet of the Spirit. 
"And if God chastised the righteous men, of the dust 

of whose feet we are not worthy, 
945 "And all [other] men, and they confessed {or^ praised) 

"It is the more fitting that we should bear the chastise- 
ment of the Lord. 
"Nay, my beloved, act not thus, for this would be 

a disgrace unto monks. 
"Sit ye down then, and doubt not concerning the 

faithfulness of Christ, 
"For Whose certain hope and love ye have forsaken 

950 "And I, the wretched one, Bar-'Idta, your servant 

and vour brother in the Lord, 


"Pledge you by God that ye shall not lack sustenance." 
Then the brethren who had made ready to depart, 

having heard the words of the holy man, 
Returned and sat down in their cells, and took refuge 

in contemplation and silence, 
And according to the word of the old man [ate bread], 

day by day, although insufficiently, 
955 — For the compassion of God was not unmindful of us — 
And the believing man Zandhiprokh, * the father of 

Teris-lsh6', came, 
Foi.34a And gave to Rabban one | thousand silver staters to 

buy food therewith. 
And the three camels which we had with us, and 

two mules, 
Which the pious Mar Abhi had given us. And Malbed, 

the believing man who is mentioned' above, 
960 Sent our Rabban to the country of Media, [and to] 

the HtizayS, 
And to the countries of Nisibis, and he brought [back] 

food for his monastery, 
Together with the gifts of Mir AbhS, the holy man 

and shepherd of Nineveh, 
And of the free men of Beth Ghurbak, and of this 

Malbed our neighbour. 
And to each of the brethren [and] solitary monks 

was given 
965 Every day a limited portion [of food], that is to say, 

by strict measure. 
And the poor and the orphans gathered together 

unto us, and for the need of their lives 

^ See above, lines 441, 642 and 808. 
2 Literally, "written." 


Rabban gave unto them also with us a portion like 

unto our own. 
[Page 154] And we began to complain that we were 

not bound to feed others, 
And he with a sad sigh entreated [us], saying, "Nay, 

my sons, do not this thing, 
970 "For perhaps for their sakes our Lord will at this 

time feed us also, 
"And because of these needy ones our Lord may 

bring food for us.'' 
And Rabban | Bar-'IdtS, being afraid lest we should Foi. 34^ 

neglect the poor, 
Did not entrust the dividing of their portion of bread 

to any of the brethren, 
But he himself used to sit down from mid-day to 

975 And the poor would pass before him, and he would give 

[each of] them two bread-cakes and [some] locusts. 
And for the little orphans he would set the portion 

[of each] in his bosom. 
And he would pass his hand over his head, and say, 

"Deliverance draweth nigh." 
And the brethren being many blessed God for His 

bread — 
Now they were more in number than a hundred — 

and the poor were more than we. 
980 And for twenty days, more or less, there came five 

[loaves] of bread. 
And we never remained for a whole day without 

[some] bread or food. 
And the believing men in Great Babhetha brought 

two loads of wheat. 


But our Rabban would hardly accept them ; and he 

said unto them, 
"My sons, have care for the nunnery of the holy 

woman Hanah-Ish6V 
985 "And the Lord will add unto your reward in the 

resurrection of the righteous and good". 
And when the Governor of times willed the famine 
Foi. 35^ passed away and | abundance came, 

And many died of sicknesses, and boils, and burning 

sores [caused by] the abundance. 
In this year by the grace of [our Lord] Hanah-lsh6* 

departed from this world 
To the life which is for ever and ever ; may her 

prayer protect us from the Evil One ! 

[Page 155] Section XXIII. 

990 In this year the blessed man received revelations 
Concerning the dispersion which happened afterwards 

to the monastery from which he went forth, 
And he said, "Great things will be wrought by God 
"In the matter of the monastery of our Rabba, MSr 

Abraham the holy man, 
"And it will be imagined by men of the outer world 

who are simple and foolish 
995 "That they will take place through attacks of devils, 

or through the [evil] nature of men, 
"But our God, Who is all- wise, will bring out from 

[these] matters 
"A cause of great benefits which will be beneficial 

to both sides. 

^ /. e,f the nunnery which his sister had built 


"Even as the flight of Jacob through Esau his brother, 
"And the selling of Joseph, and also the murder 

which Moses committed, 
looo "And David, whom Saul persecuted, and all the 

other I [similar] matters, Foi. 356 

"Took place by the Providence of God for the benefit 

of the many. 
"And thus will it be as concerning the congregation* 

of the holy man Mar Abraham, 
"The fathers of whom shall be scattered thence by 

reason of a certain offence." 
Now after a year or two his word[s] actually came 

to pass, 
1005 When Mar BUbhai " the Great, that austere man, was 

head of that monastery. 
After the blessed and holy man Mar Dad-lsho'^ had 

gone to his rest, 
A strife* took place in the monastery, and because 

thereof many went out [therefrom]. 
Mar Eliya,^ the holy man, and Mar Henan-lsho',^ the 

glorious man. 
Departed to the blessed man Abba John,^ the chosen one, 

' I. e,f the monks in the Monastery of Mar Abraham of Izla. 

? The story is told by Thomas of Marga ; see my Book of Gover* 
norsj vol. II. pp. 46, 47 f. 

^ See the account of his life in Book of Governors^ vol. II. p. 42 ; 
his name means **gift of Jesus". 

* It arose because some of the monks kept their wives in the out- 
buildings of the monastery. 

^ See Book of Governors^ vol. II. p. 50, where the story of the dis- 
persion of the monks is told by Thomas of Marga. 

* See Book of Governors, vol. II. p. 66 ; he was the nephew of 

7 Also called "John the Elder". 


loio And James,' and John,' and Sahr6wai,^ and Sabhr- 

!sh6V and Sabtikht,^ with them ; 
And UkhSma, and other brethren, to Arz6n,' and 

Kardon, and B^th N(ihd6ra,^ 
[Page 156] And John,^ and Zekha-lsho', and Abraham 

to the country of Dasan/° 
And Benjamin, and Peter, and Krdk" and Ishai, and 

Paul, and John, 
Foi. 36 a These came, by the might of God, to that Monastery 

of Bgth ^Abhg," 
1015 Before the coming of Rabban Mar Jacob to this place. 
And Mar Jacob himself and Bar-N6n went to lead 

the lives of anchorites in the mountain.'^ 
Afterwards, through a revelation, MSlt Jacob returned 

to Mount Izia,'* 

^ He went to Abba Hebisha. 

* He went to Nehel. 

^ He built a monastery at Arzon. 

* He went to the Monastery of Abba Shappira ; see B, O,^ III. i. 

pp. 255» 469- 

^ He went to Beth Zabhdai, a district on the right bank of the 

Tigris near Jazirat ibn 'Omar. 

^ /. e., the "Black" ; he also went to Beth Zabhdai. 

' A town of Armenia on the borders of Mesopotamia. 

® A Nestorian Church province ; its most northerly point was 
Halmon, and the most southerly Baladh. 

^ /. e,f John of Adharmah, a bishopric which lay between Nisibis 
and MawseL 

^° The Arabic Jabal Disin, a mountainous tract of country which 
lay along the Upper Zabh, and which has been identified with the 
Gara Mountains. 

'^ Thomas of Marga gives Adada. 

^* The history of this famous monastery was written by Thomas 
of Marga ; see my Book of Governors, 2 vols. London, 1893. 

^^ /. e,f Mount Kardo. 

" See Thomas of Margi\, Rk. I. Chap. XXI. 

sahdonA and his heresy. 235 

And afterwards, from there also, through strife, 

He went forth, with others, and came' to Beth 'Abhe* 

on the Zabha, 
1020 And became the head and founder of that godly 

Which increased through the mighty deeds and wonders 

which God wrought by his hands. 
And as long as Mar Jacob was alive, great love in 

Existed between him and our Rabban, and between 

his congregation and ours. 

Section XXIV. 

And Sahd6na^ also, of Mar Jacob's monastery,* whose 

history he himself wrote, ^ 
1025 After the death of Mar Jacob preached heresy. 

And Rabban Bar-'Idta called him, and admonished 

him and rebuked him, but he would not be 

persuaded ; 
And he said unto him, "Christ is about to cast thee 

out of the Holy Church."^ 
After the death of the holy old man, Mar Bar-'Idta, 

' His arrival took place A. D. 595. 

^ It lay on the right bank in the mountains to the south of Herpa 
under Mount Niphates, and was neariy 60 miles from Mawsel. 

* /. e,f the "little martyr", an ironical appellation. 

* The story is told by Thomas of Marga, Bk. II. Chap. 6. 

* Thomas of Margi (Bk. I. Chap. 24) complains of several omis- 
sions which he found in Sihd6na's life of Rabban Jacob. 

^ Also mentioned by Thomas of Marga (Bk. II. Chap. 6). 


Foi. 36 b He became Bishop of Mahdza of lyarawan ' of Beth 

io3o And the corrupt, unclean, and despicable book was 
In the days of the great and holy man Mar EmmSh,^ 

the Catholicus. 
And the blessed man, Mar-lsho'-Yahbh,^ who was of 

fiery zeal, having become 
Catholicus — now he was from Adiabene — cast Sahdona 

out of the Church. 
And in very deed were fulfilled concerning him the 
word[s] of the holy old man, 
1035 Who said, "Thou art about to be cast out of the 
Church under a final ban." 

[Page 157] Section XXV. 

In the days of the Patriarch of the East, Mir Sabhr- 

When the mighty man Khusrau (Chosroes), king of 

the Persians, was reigning, 
When the heads of the Church went down, and our 

father, and Mar Babhai, 

' Or Mah6za dhe Ariwan, a town which was probably situated on 
the Little Zabh. 

^ He sat from A. D. 644 to A. D. 647 ; an account of him will be 
found in Gismondi, Man's Amri et Slibae^ pt. I. p. 55 ; pt. II. p. 32 ; and 
B, O,, III. I, pp. 114, 115, 472. 

^ /. e.y the son of Rastohmagh, of Kuphlana in Adiabene, who 
succeeded Mar Emmeh in the Patriarchate ; the text of dw^ of his 
letters concerning Sahdona will be found in Book of Governors, vol. II. 
p. i32fF. 

* He sat from A. U. 596 to A. D. 60^, 



And set down in writing the orthodox faith of the 

great Church of the East, 
1040 At that time, [I say], Rabban sent after the venerable 

The head of the Monastery of the holy Mir Mattai 

of Mount Alpap.' 
And having come, and gone into the cell of Rabban, 

who was blessed by him, | 
Rabban Bar-'Idtct answered and said unto lsh&'- F0I.37 

''Behold, O our brother, how long ago is it since 

thou didst entreat me to let thee leave thy place 
1045 '*And come here? but I would not do so, because 

there was no reason of necessity. 
**This is the will of the Lord [now], that thou and 

thy companions should come here, 
"Together with the brethren of the Monastery of 

Kokhta,' at once, quickly, and with haste. 
''For I Bar-ldta have seen with the eye of the Holy 

"Mount Alpap filled with wild wasps, 
1050 "Which were mighty in their bodies, and strong in 

their fierceness, 
"And swift in their flight, and ready to do harm. 
"And in the temple which is there is laid the nest 
"Of a beautiful, white dove, which hath three young 

"And the wasps wished to go in to the dove, and 

were unable, but at length they did, 

' /. tf., Jabal Maklub. 
^ See above, p. 205. 


1055 "And they made the dove and her young to fly away, 

and they took up their abode in her nest, and 

had their rest therein. 
"And after a day or two the dove came three times 
Foi. 37 b "And looked in, and wished to enter the temple, but 

she was unable to do so of her own strength. 
"And I know that the grace of the Lord which is 

there will quickly depart, 
"[Page 158] And also that the heretics will come and 

dwell there ; 
1060 "And these the sons of our doctrine will not be able 

by force 
"To drive out thence, but only by our Lord. 
"Now therefore, take with thee a beast and two of 

the brethren, 
"And take your possessions and everything which ye 

have, and come here quickly. 
"Let one of you pass by the Monastery of Kokhta 

and inform the brethren, 
1065 "That they also may come with you, together with 

everything which they possess.'* 
So Isho*- Sabhran and his companions did according 

to the command of Rabban, 
And they came to our Monastery, and built them- 
selves cells, and dwelt therein. 
And two months, more or less, had not passed since 

the words [were spoken] 
When the wicked and unclean Zakkai, that shorn 

follower of Severus,* 

' /. e,, Severus of Antioch, A. D. 512 — 519. He embraced the Mono- 
physite doctrine, and became the head of the "Acephalai", or party of 


1070 And his disciples, who were sorcerers, captured those 

By means of the abominable assistance of Gabriel, 
the physician of Chosroes. 

Now this evil man Zakkai | worked many injuries FoI. as.t 

Upon our poor people, who were sons of the teach- 
ing of the Apostles, 

And he wished, like Satan, to destroy all the believ- 
ing folk. 
1075 Through his sorcery the devils went openly in sub- 
jection unto him, 

For, in addition to being a wicked man, he was also 
a sorcerer. 

God sent forth this man that by him He might try 
this district. 

Even as the foul Antiochus [was sent] against the 
holy men of the house of Maccabaeus. 

Certain villages he did not trample under foot that 
he might defile them with his own wickedness. 
1080 And seeing that our holy man was glorious in the 
wisdom of understanding 

He sent to him gold and silver, as it were for the 
expenses of the monastery ; 

But Rabban sent back the messengers with insult 
and revilings, saying, 

"Say ye unto him that we have no need for this 
thine abominable bribe." 

[Page 159] Then Zakkai acted cunningly in his wicked- 
ness, and he wrote to Rabban humbly. 

Monophysites who rejected the Council of Chalcedon in 451, and the 
Henoticon of Zeno which was promulgated in 482. 


1085 Saying, "We know that thou lovest neither gold nor 

"But I have certain disciples, command that they 

come, and thou shalt teach them." 
Foi. 38 b And Rabban returned his letter, and deemed it un- 
worthy of an answer. 
And the holy old man, Rabban Bar-'IdtS,, said unto 

his sons, 
"The villages in various parts of [the district] of 

Nineveh, will, little by little, accept him.*' 
1090 The brethren said unto him, "Even B^th Ghurbik, 

O our father?" 
And he said to them, "God forbid ! This shall never 

be. Until Christ revealeth Himself 
"Beth Ghiirbak shall keep the truth of the doctrine 

of our Lord sound and whole." 
And thus was it with all the villages which are in 

faith like unto it, 
Karmelish, ' and Beth ZabhS, and Beth Bore ; these 

kept the faith, 
1095 And they repelled the ambassadors of ZakkS,i, and 

drove them from their borders. 
The sons of these four villages, which were planted 

in the field of Christ, 
Drank of the spiritual rain of the true faith. 
These believing villages were the glory of Nineveh, 
For from them at all times there went forth philo- 
sophers of the house of our Lord ; 
1 100 Moreover, O my sons, I say unto you, according as 

it hath been revealed unto me by our Lord, 

' /. ^.| ij^*:^^ ; see HofTmann, Ausziige, p. 200. 

zakkAi and his twelve devils. 241 

The doctrine of error shall never, never enter into 
Marga. | 

Section XXVL 

They say that there were twelve devils which used foI. 39 a 

to cleave to Zakkai, 
And that all those devils in error used to perform 

his commands. 
And he sent one called Nana' from Beth Ghfirba, 

which is on the Tigris, 
1 105 Against Harbath Sfen&nitha, a village to the west of us. 
And others who brought with them gold, and silver, 

and gifts, 
[Page 160] To the soldiers who guarded the roads, 

and they spake unto them, saying, 
**Guard ye for us this man our companion who wisheth 

to dwell near you, 
"Lest any man injure him in any way whatsoever"; 

and they promised to guard him. 
mo And there was there a cave in a certain rock which 

was called Daira dhe Neksa ; 
In the night he used to sleep therein, and in the day 

he sat on the road-side. 
And he used to recite certain passages [from the 

Gospels], and write, and read, and make copies 

of the Scriptures, after the manner of Satan, 
And to every passer-by who asked a question he 

made a false answer, 
[Saying], "I am from the Monastery of Mar Mattai, 

and I am a disciple of Mar Zakkai, 

^ See Hoffmann, Ausziige, pp. i3o — i6i. 



1115 **Who hath sent me to Mar Bar-*Idta, his friend and 
loving companion, 
Foi. 39 b "That I may write and make a copy of | the Com- 
mentary on the Holy Scriptures which he wrote ; 
"And he hath promised to come to us, and then he 

and we shall be in loving agreement." 
And Rabban heard, and said of him, "Let him alone, 

my sons, let him alone ; 
"Nana and Zakkai shall be put to shame in the end." 

Section XXVH. 

1 120 And M3,r Yon^dhabh," the Metropolitan of Marga, 

having come, 
He appointed Mebharakh Bishop of the country of 

Dasan and Bgth Tfirg.' 
And everything which NS,na, the erring one, had 

done was heard by Mdr Yonidhabh, 
And he rose up and went to Great Babhethci in his 

godly zeal. 
And he sent for the guards from Adiabene who were 

his friends, 
1125 And said unto them, "What is the work of that monk 

who is with you ?" 
And they related to him the matter as it was, and 

he said to them, "He is my enemy." 
Then he sent one of them, and commanded him to 

bring all his papers, 

^ Perhaps to be identified with Mar Yonadhibh of Adiabene, who 
flourished in the time of Babhai. 

* A mountainous district in the Gara Mountains. 


- - - - I - , , 

And having brought the stinking Nan^, he stood up 

before Mar Yonddhabh. 
They took his wallet | and opened it, and shook it FoI. 40 a 

out before him several times, 
ii3o [Page 161] He saith unto him, "Hast thou seen Rab- 

ban ?" And he said, "I have never seen him 

"But others have compelled me [to do] this. I have 

sinned, forgive me, my lord." 
And the pious man hastily commanded them, and they 

brought fire into the midst. 
And straightway he burned all his books and quires 

of books. 
Then he sent to Beth Narkos* and brought fifty young 

men from the schools, 
1 135 And his disciple wrote unto them a paper, and 

delivered unto them thus : — 
"This is Nani Iscariot, the disciple of Zakkcii, the 

accursed one ! 
"This is Nana Satan, the disciple of Zakkai, the 

accursed one ! 
"This is Nana, the man of folly, the disciple of Zakkai, 

the sinner ! 
"This is Nana, the senseless one, the disciple of Zakkai, 

the wicked one !" 
:i4o And whilst the first [company of men] were saying, 

"This is Nana, the unbeliever," 
He commanded others to make answer, "Woe unto 

thee, O Zakkai, thou wicked one ! 

' Perhaps the place where Babhai established a school ; see Book 
of Governors^ vol. II. p. 297. 



"Fie upon thee, O Nina, thou crafty one, thou vessel 

of pollution and wickedness ! 
"Woe unto thee, Zakkai, O wicked one, from God 

the Avenger ! 
"Thou hast destroyed by thy sorcery the people who 
F0I.406 were in Mount | Alpip,' 

1145 **0 Zakkai, priest of devils, woe unto thee from Christ 

bur Lord ! 
"Woe unto thee, O Zakkai, thou sorcerer, thou dis- 
ciple of the wicked Devil ! 
"Woe unto thee, O thou broken-backed Nana, thou 

servant of the Calumniator !" 
And Rabban commanded and they brought [him] 

soot, and he spread it over the face of Nana, 
And he tied his hands behind him, and they hung a 

girdle about his neck, 
1150 And he commanded that they should make him to 

pass as a mockery by all the villages which 

were near. 
And that they should say, "This is Nana, the servant 

of Zakkai, the deceiver." 
And Mir Yonidhabh having put Zakkai, the follower 

of Severus, to shame. 
The iniquity of the sons of Zakkai, of accursed life, 

became known. 

[Page 162] Section XXVIII. 

And again the blessed old man told us that Zakkai 
worked wickedness. 

I Jabal Maklub. 


1155 Not by his wiles, nor by men, but by the devils 
which clave unto him, [saying], 

"Nay, my sons, the wicked ones shall not be per- 
mitted either to harm one of you, 

"Or to draw nigh unto him ; be of good cheer, and 
ye shall fear nothing." 

Now, I one night these devils came against our Rabba, F0I.41 a 

And vexed him the whole night, even as he spake 
unto us with his own mouth, 
1 160 [Saying], '* Already in the evening I perceived the 
devils, and I stood up in prayer against them, 

"And the whole night long I ceased not to do com- 
bat with them. 

"They appeared in the forms of black, stinking ravens, 

"And they flew upwards and tried to force themselves 
into my chamber to destroy me, 

"But whilst the angel of God was casting stones of 
fire at 
1 165 "Each one which approached me from the Evil One 
and his hosts, 

"I passed the night in striving, and they were un- 
able to smite me, 

"And before the dawn they departed unto Zakkai 
who had sent them." 

Section XXIX. 

Again in the Monastery of MS,r Addona* there dwelt 

a certain monk. 
The venerable old man, Bar Sahdg, and with him 

was a brother by name Phinehas. 

^ It was situated in Beth Nuhadhra ; see Hoffmann, Auszuge, p. 21 3. 


_ — _ ^ — , 

1170 When the error of Zakkai entered in here by the 

bribes of Gabriel, 
He drove out the light of Divine Grace from the 

believing men, [and from] 
Foi. 416 The inhabitants of Beth Bar-T6lai, and of Beth Daniel 

Two famous villages which were under that mountain. 
Those wicked men threatened the blessed old man 

Bar Sahde, 
"75 [Page 163] Saying, "If thou wilt not agree with us, 

depart, lest we strangle thee." 
And the old man fled, and came to Beth Rastak, 

to the village of Ardod, 
And he built himself a cell there upon a hill and 

dwelt therein. 
And the old man had books in the Monastery of Mar 

And in the haste of fear he forgot to take them with him ; 
1180 And he went up to our old man and told him. Rabban 

saith unto him, 
"Take heed, and go not thither, for they will kill 

thee for the sake of the money. 
"But seek out a good man that he may go there at 

"And let him stay the night there as if to pray, and 

in the night he can bring thy books." 
And the man went and stayed there the night, and 

brought the books of Bar SUhde, 
1 185 And he also brought with him the veil which was 

hanging in the martyrium. 
Now when the old man saw the veil, which was very- 
fine and beautiful, 


He said, | **Get thee up, and hang it in the martyrium foI. 42 a 

of the Monastery of Rabban Bar-*Idta." 
And he did as the old man had commanded him, 

and gave the veil to the sacristan. 
And the sacristan hung it up in the martyrium, above 

the cross, as he had been commanded. 
1 190 Now as soon as that veil had entered into the Mon- 
astery of Mar our father. 
All the error of Satan compassed us on every side. 
And all the peoples were stirred up to come to the 

Monastery of Rabban Bar-'Idta, 
Not only [those of] Marga and Nineveh, but from 

remote countries. 
And great wonder took hold upon every man at the 

change which had come upon us, 
1 195 For the monks who dwelt together' were neither able 

to bake bread. 
Nor to empty the corn bins (?) or the jars of oil, 
Nor to tie up or to unloose the wine skins which 

were very many. 
And the whole assembly of the devils were shooting 

out their venom upon us. 
And we became a thing trodden under foot as the 

gazingstock of Jews and heathen. 
1200 [Page 164] And Rabban Bar-'Idta answered and said 

in grief unto his disciples, 
**Dear children, beloved sons, | what hath come upon foI. 42 b 

us, what hath happened unto us ? 
**Can it be that the sorceries of Zakkai the wicked 
one, the shrine of devils, 

' /. ^., the coenobites. 


"Have come upon us through our sluggishness to 

make us flee from our place ? 
"Let every man among you, O my beloved, pray to 

the Lord in his cell, 
1205 "That God will point out to us this evil' matter." 
And the blessed man Mar Y6z3,dhak saw a vision 

through God 
Of* a hateful, black man standing in our martyrium 
Of this holy monastery, and he was girt about with 

a red tunic (^r, girdle). 
And in his hand was a glass vessel filled with blood. 
1210 And the foul smell of that blood came outside the 

temple ; 
And the man sprinkled the blood upon the men who 

were going therein. 
And they lickd it up with their tongues with great 

And when it was well nigh exhausted, he spat in the 

vessel and the blood increased. 
And, when, being outside, I asked, "When did this 

Ethiopian come 
1215 "Hither and enter our monastery ?" they said unto 

me, "Recently." 
I said to them, "How is it that our Rabban doth 

not know about him ?" 
They said unto me, "Your Rabba will very soon 
Foi. 43 a learn [about him]." 

And I saw in [my] vision that I was running to in- 
form our Rabba 
Of that stinking impurity which was in our martyrium. 

' Presumably Yozadhak begins the narrative of his dream here. 


1220 But the Ethiopian ran there before me, and he cast 

towards me 
Some of that stinkingness which he held, and I was 

in great affliction. 
And by reason of the terror which had seized me 

I woke up trembling. 
And I ran by night to Rabban, and I related unto 

him what I had seen. 
Our Rabba said unto me, "That error which hath 

come upon us 
1225 "[Page 165] Is set in our martyrium ; call the sacristan 

that I may enquire of him." 
So they called the sacristan, and he came, and our 

father asked him, saying, 
"What is this error which hath destroyed our mon- 
astery, and which is making us to flee ? 
"Tell me if any one of the heretics hath passed the 

night here." 
He saith to him, "O my lord, God forbid ! I know 

of nothing whatsoever, 
i23o "Except a small worked veil which Phinehas brought 

to us, 
"And which his old Rabba sent, saying, *Hang it up 

in the martyrium !' 
"And behold, the veil which he sent is hanging up 

in the martyrium above | the cross." Foi.^sb 

Then Rabban said, "This is the whole error of 

"Go ye, heat the monastery furnace, and do thou, 

and the brethren who live together, go 
1235 "And sing one section of the Psalms of David in the 



**That the devil which dwelleth in that veil of error 

may not harm you. 
"And raise ye a heavenly hymn, and *Our Lord and 

Father, which art in heaven', 
*'And take ye the veil, and quickly' cast [it] into the 

fiery furnace. 
"As soon as it cometh to an end shall perish the 

error which hath entered in to vex us." 
1240 Now when the veil had thus perished, those who were 

passing the night in the monastery 
Did not remain until the dawn, but immediately went 

And every man, wherever he came from, returned to 

his house in haste. 
And even those who came in the morning did not 

go in to pray in the temple. 
For the adorable God had not brought them to pay 

homage unto Him, 
1245 But a devil had called them that by their means he 

might trouble the monks. 
And our father said unto his disciples, "Let no man 
Foi. 44 a eat or | drink 

"Of what the devils of that sorcerer and deceiver 

Zakkai have brought." 
Then our hofy father commanded, and it was loaded 

up on three camels. 
And distributed among the orphans and widows of 

the villages of Marga for food. 

' The text has Auf^lI^CDl. 


[Page 166] Section XXX. 

1250 Now therefore we will inform the believers of the 

visions and revelations 
Which came unto the blessed man before they [the 

events] actually came to pass ; 
And how before matters had worked themselves out 
The holy man had known of them, and had made 

them known to his friends. 
In the time of Rabban there was peace between the 

two great kingdoms 
1255 Of the Greeks and of the Persians which belonged 

to the Emperor Mauricius and Chosroes. 
Our Rabban saw in a revelation of the spirit that a 

war would take place in the west. 
Among the Greeks with each other, and that also 

through the war of the Persians, 
Great cities, and fortresses, and many towns 
The Assyrian would destroy ; and that of the mighty 

men of the sons of Yaw an 
1260 He would make captives, and pillage and destroy ; 

and, as far as he had | the power [to do so], Foi. 44 b 

would make a mockery of 
The churches, and monasteries, and people of Jesus 

Christ ; 
And then the Greeks would come, wasting and taking 

vengeance at will, 
And that the bonds which the eastern Persians had 

cast upon them [would be broken]. 
And the Greeks would pour out much blood in the 

land of Persia, 


1265 And would shew pity neither on believers, nor holy 
men, nor anchorites. 

**And" [he said], '*Our Lord hath revealed unto me 
that in this our poor monastery 

"The sword shall have no dominion, and no plunder- 
ing shall come upon it, 

**And they shall not take from us the smallest thing, 
and they shall depart leaving 

*'With us certain persons to prevent their fellow sol- 
diers from doing us harm.'* 
1270 And afterwards strife began between Mauricius and 

And Phocas, the rebel, slew Mauricius,' the Emperor 
of Yawan. 

When Chosroes the mighty heard that Phocas reigned 
in his lord's stead 

[Page 167] He went up and captured the city of Dara,^ 
and destroyed and laid waste mercilessly. 

He laid waste the city of Jerusalem also, and Alex- 
andria {sic)y and Edessa, 
1275 And they took into captivity both small | and great 
Foi.45rt ^ith prideful insolence. 

' Phocas was a native of Cappadocia, and the leader of the revolt 
ag^ainst Mauricius ; he was proclaimed Emperor of Constantinople on 
November 23, A. D. 602, and reigned until A. D. 610, in which year he 
was beheaded, and his body burnt. 

^ He and his five sons were beheaded on November 27, A. D. 602, 
^ The famous city which was situated near Nisibis, and was built 
by the Emperor Anastasius A. D. 507, with the view of protecting the 
dominions of the Byzantine Greeks against invasion by the Persians ; 
the fortifications of the city were very strong, and it was well supplied 
with water. 


Then came the Greeks who smote, and plundered, 

and destroyed everything, 
No man escaped from the hand of the children of 

Then Rabban gathered together all his sons, and they 

went into the temple of the Lord, 
And stood upon ashes, and made supplication to be 

delivered from the Greeks. 
1280 The first company having gone up to pass through 

Marga passed the night in Ardod, 
And Leo,' the captain of the host of the company of 

the proud Greeks, 
Saw in his dream the angel of the Lord, in the form 

of our old man, 
A bald old man, small of stature, who stood in front 

of him threateningly, 
And holding a cross of light in his mighty right hand, 
1285 And a staff of fire in his left hand, and the Gospel 

on his breast. 
And Leo being asleep in his tent, the old man smote 

him on his side, and made him stand up, 
And he fell down and bowed before him to the earth, 

and said to him, **What is it, O my lord?" 
He saith unto him, "See, O Leo, thou must not by 

any means enter the monastery | 
"Of the company of my children, and thou must not FoI. 45 1 

harm one man therein. 

^ The allusion here must be to the tribes of maraudings Arabs of 
Mesopotamia who completed the destruction of property and life in 
Asia Minor which the Persians had begun. 

2 Probably the eunuch Leontius, who was defeated by Khusrau II 
at Dara. 


1290 "I am Bar-'Idta, a stranger, who came from the neigh- 
bourhood of the river Euphrates, 
"The country of your blessed dominion, and I live 

Leo, being afraid, saith unto him, "Nay, master, thou 

servant of Christ, 
"I swear by the Cross of our Lord, the object in 

which the Greeks boast, 
"That I will not harm one man belonging to your 

holy monastery, 
1295 "But I will pass by you in the peace and love of 

He saith unto him, "If thou doest this thou shalt go* 

with victory and peace 
"Into the country of the mighty Greeks"; and the 

angel left him and departed. 
[Page 168] And when the courageous Leo had woke up, 

he was afraid with an exceedingly great fear. 
And he determined in his mind to do according to 

what he had seen in his dream. 
i3oo And when the Greeks came like eagles and surrounded 

our monastery, 
Leo went down and sat before the cross which marched 

at the head of their ranks, 
And cried unto his host, and warned it, taking an oath 

by the cross of light. 
Saying, "O Greeks, no one of you shall get down 

from his horse." | 
Foi. 46 a And he sent and called our old man, and behold, when 

he had gone forth, and was coming towards him 

' /. e,, return. 


i3o5 To the place where he was seated upon a hill, which 

was by the graveyard of the brethren, 
Leo saw that it was he who had appeared unto him 

in the night in the form of an angel; 
And he rose up to meet him, and embraced and 

kissed him, and when the brethren saw [this] 

they became of good cheer. 
And Leo told Rabban Bar-'IdtH everything which had 

appeared [to him] in the night. 
And the old man rose up and did homage to the 

Greek, and blessed and thanked him, 
i3io And he urged him to go into the monastery to rest, 

but he would not accept this, 
Saying to our Rabbi, "Pray for me that I may con- 
quer in our Lord." 
The brethren said unto Leo, "We beseech thee, O 

"To complete for us the act of grace which thou 

hast done towards us in Christ, 
"And leave behind thee with us one of these brave 

men who are with thee, 
i3i5 "So that those who shall come after them may neither 

harm nor destroy us." 
Then Leo the king appointed for us a certain young 

man of the sons of his house. 
Together with two of his vigorous young men, and 

they departed not until the war was over. 
And when he wished to depart from us, | our Rabban foI. 46 b 

commanded and gave him 
Fifty silver staters ; and [thus] harm passed away 

from us. 


[Page 169] Section XXXI. 

i32o There were in the congregation of Rabban certain 

wonderful, mighty men : 
One of these was Mar Ydzidhak/ from Beth Shiiinaye, 

of Nineveh ; 
And another was Hormizd,^ and from the country of 

Persia was he, 
That is to say, from the city of Shiraz ; and Simon ^ 

from the country of Kashkar. 
And concerning them it was revealed to Rabban by 

the Lord, the All-knowing, 
i325 That they were to be founders of monasteries like 

their guide and teacher. 

Section XXXII. 

In his last year, the year wherein he departed from 

this world to Paradise, 
A very young man whose name was Sergius was 

converted by him. 
And certain of the old men blamed him for receiving 

him that was only a boy ; 
And he said unto them, "This boy shall stand [as] 

a father to the congregation." 
i33o Now after some years this boy was appointed shepherd 

of Adiabene,* | 

^ I'he master of Rabban Mar Simon, who wrote the life of Rabban 
H6rmizd printed above. He seems to be mentioned in Gismondi, 
Maris Amri, pt. II. p. 32 (Latin trans.). 

^ See above, p. i ff. 

^ The disciple of Mdr Yozadhak, the friend of Rabban Hormizd. 

"* Perhaps the Sergius who was a disciple of Mar Abha, and is 
mentioned in B. O,, 86, 87, 171. 


That is to say, the capital city of the province, and Foi. 47 a 
[thus] the prophecy of our father was fulfilled. 

And the lands, and the mill, and the vineyards be- 
longing to this monastery he acquired. 

And all his care he devoted wholly to the maintenance 
of the monastery. 

Now all these things which we have already written, 
and also those which have yet to be written, 
1335 Are witnesses of the spirit of prophecy which the 
holy old man had received. 

Section XXXffl. 

In one of the narrow valleys which are round about 

the monastery of Rabban, 
In a certain hole there dwelt a great and mighty 

Now that snake was more than ten cubits in length : 
[Page 170] He was black and exceedingly loathsome, 

but none of us had, as yet, seen him. 
1340 And one of the coenobites from the village of Barzane 

To bring wood on the camel, according to a custom 

which we had. 
And he cut wood near the hole of that snake un- 
And the snake came out from his hole, and set out 

to attack him. | 
And the young man was terrified, and cried out, and FoI. 47 b 

his soul was carried away from him. 
1 345 Now the nod of the Governor of the universe restrained 

the snake, and he went into his hole. 



And when the time for the young man to come had 
arrived, and he appeared not, 

And the day declined to its ending, and still Isho'- 
Yahbh did not come, 

The brethren went out to seek him, and they saw 
the camel feeding 

At a distance and there was no man with him ; and 
they marvelled, and wondered, and were aston- 
1350 And when little by little the coenobites had drawn 
nigh they saw [him] lying 

[Where] he had fallen down in the morning of that 
day, and there was no living feeling in him. 

Then they carried him and brought him to the com- 
munity, and they informed the old man concerning 
his death. 

The holy old man on hearing [this] was greatly moved 
and pained, and he wept exceedingly, 

And he took the oil of prayer, and anointed the 
young man with courage, 
1355 And stood above him praying ; and he lifted up his 
voice, and said, 

"O our Lord Jesus, the Redeemer, Who hast power 
to do everything, 

**And to Whom it is easy to bring into being those 
which have no being, 
Foi.48rt "And Who only doest | for those of Thine household 

such things as are good for them, 

"And Who bringest forth out of tribulations the con- 
fession of the greatness of Thy love, 
i36o "I entreat Thee, O our Lord, to bring to life this 
young man. 


"Even as Thou didst bring Tabitha to life in Joppa^ 

by the hands of Thy holy man Simon.'* 
And with this word he took hold of the young man, 

and roused him up, saying, 
"My son Ish6*-Yahbh, rise, and come [hither], through 

our Lord Jesus Who giveth thee life." 
[Page 171] Then the young man opened his eyes, and 

looked on the old man, and spake with him ; 
i365 And he opened his mouth, and Rabban threw in oil 

of prayer, and he stood up. 
On the morning of the morrow our holy old man 

took us all, 
And we all went together to the door of the hole of 

that snake, 
And we collected large stones, and we shut the 

snake in, 
Rabban himself standing at the entrance to the hole, 

and building up the stones. 
1370 And some little time afterwards unto every one who 

drew nigh 
There would come the smell of the putrefying snake 

which died by the might of our Lord. 

Section XXXIV. 

Now MalbSd, the true believer | from the village of foI. 48 b 

Had an aged mother-in-law who for a very long time 

had not had good health, 
And who had been lying upon a sick bed for many 

years past, 

^ Acts IX. 36 — 40. 



1375 And she was weary of physicians, and they were not 
able to heal her. 

And Malb6d came to Rabban, and entreated him to 
pray over her, 

That she might either be worthy of the healing of the 
Lord, or that He would take her out of this world. 

And Rabban gave MaJb^d some martyrs' dust, com- 
manding him to give it to her to drink in water. 

And having given it to her to drink she was made 
whole in a day or two, and she ran to the 

Section XXXV, 

i38o And again there was a certain poor woman in whom 

water had collected. 
And her body was swollen and puffed out, and she 

was like a great skin bottle. 
And by reason of the terrible appearance of her body 

every one who saw her turned away his face. 
Now this woman was from the village of B^th Musiye, 
[Page 172] And her kinsfolk came to Rabban and in- 
formed him concerning her. 
i385 Then he blessed some water and cast [therein] holy 
Foi.49a oil, and gave it unto them. 

And he commanded them, [saying], "When ye depart 

let them make her stand up, 
**And drink this water, and let them pour some of it 

on her head." 
And as soon as they had done this the foul water 

left her body. 
And on that very day, and at that very time she 

received perfect healing. 


Section XXXVI. 

1390 Now there was in the city of Nineveh a certain Jew 

who was a tailor, 
When the blessed man Mar Abha was building the 

temple of the castle therein, 
And he had a beloved son who was grievously vexed 

with devils, 
And every garment which he put on, and the raiment 

in which he was dressed he used to rend and 

tear into rags. 
Now the Jew by the advocacy of Mar Abha went to 

1395 And he sealed him with the sign of the Cross, and 

the devil went out from his boy. 
And this having happened the Jew became converted 

in his mind. 
And he went to the monastery, and prayed in the 

temple, and accepted the living Cross, 
Then having returned to his city of Nineveh, he went 

to the bishop, 
And confessed the faith, and was baptized, | he and F0I.496 

all his household. 
1400 And he was mixed with the sheep of our Lord, and 

he placed his son in the school. 
And he became learned in the Glorious Scriptures 

which are full of the Holy Spirit. 
And when Mar filiya* came, and built the holy mon- 

^ Mar £lliyi, who built the Monastery of Sa'id in Miwsel, and who 
flourished in the time of the Patriarch Isho-yahbh of Arz6n. 


He went to the blessed man and became a chosen 

Section XXXVH. 

Now there was also a certain man from the village 

of Perath, whose name was Zedkoi ; ' 
1405 He had lived with his wife ten years, but was deprived 

of the blessing of children. 
[Page 173] The believing man himself and his wife 

came in faith to Rabban, 
And with bitter and sorrowful tears besought the 

blessing of bearing children. 
Rabban answered and said unto the woman, **Wouldst 

thou have one son or two ?" 
She saith, "I want two ; ask the Lord to give [them] 

unto me." 
1410 The blessed man saith unto her, *'If thou hast three 

"Wilt thou give me one of them?" She saith unto 

him, **Yea, by God." 
He saith unto her, "My daughter, take these three 

little cakes of martyrs' dust, | 
Foi. 50^ "And go to thy house in faith, and each day take 

one little cake." 
And having taken [them] in the confidence of Christ, 

at the return of the year she gave birth to a son, 
1415 And she set him apart [in payment] of the vow to 

Rabban, and afterwards she gave birth to two sons. 
Now when the first son had grown up he came to 

the monastery, 

^ Or, Zedkowai. 


And became a disciple of the old men, and Rabban 
called him "Bar-Daira."^ 

Section XXXVffl. 

In the village of Beth Kart^wiy^- there was a man 

whose name was Job, 
And to this man, one night, a devil appeared in a 

1420 And he required of him, saying, **If in two days from 

this time 
"Thou dost not worship the sun, and sacrifice an ox 

to me 
**[As] an offering outside thy village, I will slay all 

thine household, 
"And all thy sheep and cattle, and I will overthrow 

thy whole habitation." 
Then the believing man woke up, and as soon as it 

was dawn, he knocked at the door of Rabban, 
1425 And he repeated to our Rabba that which had been 

said [to him] in the night. 
And Rabban | answered and said unto him, **Shew^ 

me thy sin before the Lord. 
"For the Calumniator hath prevailed over thee in this 

wise to thy benefit." 
The man answered and said, "There is in our village 

a certain wicked sorceress, 
[Page 174] And, according to what they say, she eateth 

bread, and then receiveth the Glorious Mysteries, 

^ /. e,j the "son of the Monastery". 

^ J, e,, the country of the Kartaw Kurds, who appear to have lived 
in the region which lies to the west of the Little Zabh ; see Hoffmann, 
Auszuge, p. 207. 


1430 **But it is doubtful if the bread is, in truth, the holy 

Body of our Lord. 
"Why doth this not kill her? For behold she hath 

mocked Him for years." 
The old man answered and said unto him, "This is 

wickedness, and not sin. 
"Who art thou to cast blame upon the works of the 

Lord Most High? 
"Knowest thou what will happen unto that poor 

woman, O man, 
1435 "Either in this world or in that which is to come ? 

For every man shall be rewarded according to 

his works." 
And Rabban made for him a washing from the cross 

which hung upon him, 
And he placed therein [some] prayer oil, in the Name 

of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Spirit. 
And he commanded him that on the morrow, before 

eating, he and his household should drink 
Some of the water, and sprinkle some of it in his 

house, and also over all his sheep and cattle, 
1440 And that on the holy First Day of the week he should 

stand in sackcloth and ashes 
Foi.siain the church of their village; | then would he be 

delivered from the hurt of devils. 
And Rabban further said, "Three days hence 
"The devils to which the poor woman sacrificeth will 

dash her in pieces." 
And Job did as Rabban had commanded him on the 

First Day of the week, 
1445 And he stood on the ashes in penitence, before all 

the people of his village. 


And in the evening of the Second Day of the Week, 

the devils rent the woman, 
And she was strangled by them, and the matter of 

her became known to every man. 

Section XXXIX. 

And Emmanuel the deacon, the believing man of fair 

Who was from Beth Ghurbak, a village mighty in 
the Lord, 
1450 Had a brother who was many years older than he, 

And he had a wife who was lascivious, lustful, and 
adulterous : 

[Page 175] Whenever that woman saw Emmanuel's 

Which was adorned with holiness, in the fair ap- 
pearance of his person, 

The vile creature would struggle to bring the chaste 
man to love her, 
1455 And I to unite with her in love, even as the lascivious FoI. 51 b 
woman' wished [to bring] Joseph. 

Meanwhile Emmanuel himself, in purity and upright- 

Was living with his wife in the love of Christ our 

But the vile woman was scheming with all kinds of 

How she might overthrow the chaste man and make 
him defile his brother's bed. 

^ /. e,y Potiphar's wife. 


1460 Sometimes she would laugh in his face, and grasp 

him with love, 
At other times she would seize his hands, and squeeze 

and press them with fervour, 
That, peradventure, that which she desired she might 

bring upon him, and he would have intercourse 

with her forthwith ; 
But he never had it in his mind to do her abominable 

And when she saw that he came not to her desire, 

and that he did not unbend to her incitements, 
1465 That she might speak to him freely, and disgrace his 

She took refuge in devils, and in the sorcerers who 

served them. 
And she asked them to bring Emmanuel to her couch ; 
Then the sorcerers gave her oil which she was to 

give him to anoint his body, 
Foi.52aAnd the adulterous woman, having done as | the 

sorcerers had commanded her, 
1470 Straightway there was raised up a storm against the 

ship of the soul of the deacon. 
And the fire of love for her spread in him, like the 

fire of a blazing furnace. 
For two or three days the man of endurance restrained 

And he went not to his house through the greatness 

of [his] sin, and he wished to die. 
Finally he went to Rabban, and revealed unto him 

his matter, 
1475 And, shedding tears before the old man, he entreated 

to have rest from his evil imagination. 


And Rabban at once anointed him with prayer oil 

of health, 
[Page 176] And commanded him to observe the times 

[of prayer] in the temple the whole Sabbath. 
Then having come he made known to Rabban, [saying], 

**Our Lord hath visited me most fully." 
And he remained in the monastery, and became a 

disciple and a chosen vessel. 
1480 And he took an oath, saying, '*From the time when 

the old man laid his right hand upon my head 

unto this day 
"The lust which is of the world hath never put me 

to shame." 

Section XL. 

And again, one of our brethren, whose name was 

Gaws-Isho',' and 
Who was known to be from Beth ] Asa,^ a famous foI. 526 

village of Gughma', 
Had a father who had married a wife after [the death 

of] the mother of Gaws-Isho", 
1485 And after Gaws-lsho' had become a monk she gave 

birth to a son. 
It also happened that his father departed from this 

world of trouble, 
And his father's wife was afraid that he would divide 

with her son the inheritance. 
Then she meditated and made a poison, and [put it] 

in one of the things which he ate, 

^ /. e.y the "refuge of Jesus'*. 

^ Perhaps the place where Babhai established a school ; see Book 
of Governdrs, vol. II. p. 275. 


That she might kill the chosen man Gaws-lsh6' ; and 

she took it and brought it to the monastery. 
1490 And the holy man Rabban, who could see the things 

which were hidden as well as those which were 

Called Gaws-Ish6', and said unto him, "Take thy 

father's wife and come here." 
And having come he answered and said unto her, 

"What hast thou brought for Gaws-Isho'?" 
She saith unto him, "Behold, I have brought him 

some food made of lentils." 
Then the old man said unto her, "Woe unto thee, 

miserable woman, 
1495 "Hast thou no shame before man, and no fear of the 

"The holy man GS,ws-lsh6', who was demanding 

nothing of thee, 
"Thou hast contrived a plan to kill him by poison ; 
Foi. 53 a rise up, and get thee | gone to thy house with 

thy gifts." 
[Page 177] Then she turned away from her wish, and 

vowed fair things of every kind. 
And she made supplication unto God with tears, that 

He would forgive her sins. 

Section XLI. 

1500 And again, a certain man from Harbath Senonitha 

had a wife, and to 
Him, through the agency of devils working by means 

of the sorcerers who ministered unto them, 
There appeared in the night time sleeping by him a 

female dog ; 


And when she woke up that vision went away and 

turned into a woman. 
And her husband seeing her constantly thus became 

terrified thereat, 
1505 Not knowing of a certainty how to inform her of how 

he saw her. 
Now the woman herself was not aware of the change 

which came over her, 
Only her husband saw [it], and he held his peace 

and disregarded the matter. 
For he thought that his miserable wife was a witch, 
And he was afraid if she learned that he was watch- 
ing her that she would destroy him forthwith by 

means of her enchantments. 
1510 And he decided to come and pray in this holy mon- 
And then to depart into | remote countries and be FoI. 53 b 

free from her. 
And having come and prayed in the temple, the holy 

man sent for him. 
And having come to him, he said unto him, '* Whence 

art thou, O believer ? 
He saith unto him, "I am from Harbath Senonitha." 
1515 Rabban saith, "Whither dost thou wish to go and 

leave thy house and thy children ?" 
And the believing man, seeing that he knew of his 

departure before he had told him. 
Made his whole business clear before our holy father. 
And the old man answered and said unto him, "This 

vexing cometh to thy wife 
"Through the wicked devils who are seeking to bring 

her to their will. 


1520 "[Page 178] This thing hath befallen her by the per- 
mission of God, the Lord of all, 
'^Because she hath not observed Friday, and hath 

partaken of food of flesh, 
"Although our religion commandeth that none of the 

believing and chosen folk 
"Shall pollute his holy soul with meat on the day of 

"But rise up now, O my son, return in thy house in 

the peace of our Lord. 
1525 "Behold, give her this martyrs' dust to take, and 

let her have refuge in Jesus Christ. 
"And admonish thy wife very carefully that she cease 
Foi. 54 a from her former works ; 

"And when she hath done thus that phantom will 

never more appear unto thee." 
And thus by the prayer of Rabban was done away 

that wicked deceit 
Of the impudent Devil from those wretched folk. 

Section XLII. 

1530 And a certain woman of Beth Rastak carried her son 

in faith 
To the cell of our old man, Rabban Bar-*Idta, the 

And his two feet (^r, legs) being maimed, whenever 

the young man stood up 
His legs became twisted beneath him, and he walked 

on one side of his foot. 
And the blessed man took a horn of holy oil and 

anointed him, 


1535 And the youth remained [there] two days, and was 
made whole, and his mother took him away. 

Section XLIII. 

Again, a certain man from Babh^tha betrothed a 

woman to his son in the usual manner. 
And the day of the marriage feast having drawn 

nigh, he went to the holy man 
And persuaded our Rabban to pray over them in 

The blessed old man saith unto him, **Hearken | unto Foi. 546 

what I shall say unto you. 
1540 *'Take heed when ye go to the Euphrates to fetch 

the bride for thy son 
"[Page 179] That no destroying singers go with you 

on your road. 
"But gather together with gladness the priests and 

pious Levites, 
"And go and come [back] singing the service of the 

Church, and Christ will be with you." 
Besides this Rabban informed him of no other thing 

[545 And the believing man undertook to do according 

to the command of Christ. 
Now when he had gone [home] his brethren and 

kinsfolk would not hearken unto him, saying, 
*'We will not spoil our gladness, and according to 

our custom it shall be performed.'' 
And having arrived half-way on their road. 
Straightway a vision of the devil appeared unto the 



1550 And she cast away her apparel, and let down the 
plaits of her hair. 

And straightway her brethren and relations took her 
and lifted her down from the ass. 

And the poor woman having become ill and rent by 
the devils, 

Her brethren took her carefully back to their house 
in sorrow. 
Foi. 55 a And the believing man ran to Rabban, | and informed 

him of the matter with tears, 
1555 Then Rabban blamed him, and said unto him, "Why 
didst thou not keep the command? 

"It was a company of wicked devils, our enemies, 
which met you, 

"And at the sound of the singers they passed by you 
and went to B6th Niira' of Media. 

"My sons, had ye been singing the Psalms as I com- 
manded you, 

"They would neither have had power over you nor 
approached your bride. 
1560 "As soon as the devils saw you their will was ac- 
complished in something, 

"For they straightway destroyed your joy, and changed 

it into sorrow." 

And he gave him some martyrs' dust, saying, "In 

the evening take with thee 
"The priests of the Holy Church, and the deacons, 

and the Levites, 
"And both in going and in coming let them sing the 

Psalms of the Holy Spirit ; 

^ Perhaps Beth Niira, literally *'house of fire", here only means a 
fire temple, and is not to be understood as a proper name. 


1565 "Fear nothing whatsoever, and the Lord in His mercy- 
will protect you." 
[Page 180] And having done according to the word 

of the old man Rabban Bar-'Idt§, the Great, 
They performed their custom in gladness, and brought 
their bride in peace. 

Section XLIV. 

Again, they brought unto him a certain woman of 

the village of Bar- 1 Shira, foI. 55 ^ 

Who was vexed by an affliction [caused] by the 

cruelty of an evil devil. 
1570 And Rabban prayed over her before God, and anointed 

her with holy oil. 
And the devil was driven out of her, and she returned 

to her house in joy. 

Section XLV. 

Again, there was in the village of B6th Daniel, which 
is in MargS,, 

A certain man whose name was Denha, a prince who 
was exceedingly rich. 

He had so many sheep that it was difficult, nay, im- 
possible to number them, 
1575 And there fell [upon them] a violent sickness, and 
his flocks began to die. 

Then he ran in faith to this holy man, 

And entreated him that he would stay the pestilence 
among them by his prayer. 

The old man answered, and said unto him, "Dost 
thou wish thy flocks of 



"Sheep to be saved from death?'' Denha saith unto 
him, "Yea, my lord." 
1580 The blessed old man saith unto DenM, the upright 
"Thou hast a certain maidservant ; cast her forth 

quickly from thy house." 
And he sware unto him, [saying], "This day no maid- 
servant dwelleth in my dominion." 
Foi. 56 a For his acquaintances were saying | that one of his 

sons had committed folly with her. 
And Rabban gave him water in which he had placed 
oil and the dust of martyrs, 
1585 And Denhcl sprinkled it upon his flocks, and the 
pestilence was stayed among them. 

[Page 181] Section XL VI. 

Again, to the believing man Yazdin, from the famous 

[village of] Tell el-H^tg' 
Every son that was born died before forty days [were 

passed] ; 
And the two of them, he and his wife, came to 

Rabban weeping, [and saying], 
"Since it happeneth unto us thus, death is better for 

us than life." 
1590 And the holy man consoled them both, and said unto 

"I will entreat the God of all to keep alive one son 

for you ;" 

' rtljLcD or ruuLco means '^branches", and the village may have 
been called the ''Hill of Branches" because of a hill covered by a 
thick forest which stood upon it. 


And he gave them some martyrs' dust and blessing, 
and a son came to them, and he lived. 

It was he who became their heir, even as this old 
man had told them. 

Section XL VII. 

Again, in the village of B6th lArbatha, which is below 

our monastery, 
1595 There was a certain old woman who was a widow, 

and she was poor and needy, 
And she had an only son, who tended the cattle of 

the village. | 
Now there was in that village a rich man who had foI. 56 b 

a daughter that was a virgin. 
But she had been seduced by a certain pagan and 

When she was asked by her father, who had done 

this thing unto her, 
i6oo She answered him with a lie and false accusation, 

"The young man, the son of such and such a woman, 

hath done this shameful thing unto me." 


And he believed the words of his daughter, and sent 

his sons and they brought the young man. 
And he beat him cruelly and mercilessly, and cut his 

flesh into pieces. 
And drove out his mother from the village, and the 

old woman came to Rabban, 
605 [Page 182] And complained and cried before him about 

the act of oppression which had been done unto 




And Rabban sent to the man to come to him — and 

he would not — 
That he might rebuke him for the folly which had 

been done by him in violent anger, 
And he comforted the old woman, and said unto 

her, "In a little time the lie will be revealed, 
"And your enemies shall be condemned, and ye shall 

be [proved] innocent." 
1610 And the young woman having brought forth a male 

child, they sent it to the old woman, 
Foi.57d Saying, I "Rear thy son's son, as is right and proper." 
Then the old woman came to Rabban, in tears and 

And he said unto her, "Hold thy peace, old woman, 

thy son shall inherit all their house." 
After a few days God put all of them to death, 
1615 Except their daughter, who had been bound in love 

for the son of the old woman. 
From the time when she had made the accusation 

against him, [and she wished them] to give her 

to him ; 
And she sent for him, and he came to her, and took 

her to wife and became their heir. 

Section XLVIII. 

Again, one of our brethren by reason of his ascetic 

Had fallen into a very grievous sickness, and he had 

brought low his body by his austere practices, 
1620 And he sent for Rabban to come and pray over him 

that his body might be healed. 


And the holy old man came, and holding his staff 

in his hand, 
Said unto him, "Ephraim, Ephraim, Christ our Lord 

healeth thee ;" 
And straightway the brother was healed, and all who 

heard glorified the Lord. | 

[Page 183] Section XLIX. 

Again, a certain bald man, from the village of B6th FoI. 57 b 

1625 Which is in Margd, had a bull, a very great bull, 
And being among the herd, and the herdsman asleep, 

certain men passed by, and took him away, and 

departed ; 
And his owners hearing this went out everywhere, 

and sought him but could not find him. 
Now the miracles of the blessed man being proclaimed 

by the mouth[s] of all men. 
The friends and relatives of the owner of the bull 

counselled him to come to Rabban, 
i63o And he rose up and came to him. And Rabban hear- 
ing said unto him, 
"Swear unto me by God's Name that thou wilt not 

expose the thief; 
"That the power may fall into my hands, and he 

suffer not the loss of his soul and his money." 
And he swore by the Living God, [saying], "I will 

not expose the thief." 
The blessed old man saith unto him, "Behold, thy 

bull is hidden in the house 
1635 "Of the thief Layolokh, who is from the village of 

Beth Zakh6, 


"And they are now ready to carry him and sell him 

in Bgth 'Edhrai ; 
Foi.sSa "But go quickly, and demand him | from him secretly, 
"And, behold, by reason of his fear he will take thee 

into his house ; 
"Take thy bull, and come [hither] secretly in the 

late night." 
1640 And the man, having done thus, according to the 

word of the honourable old man. 
Took his bull, and departed to his house in joy, and 

praised his Creator. 

Section L. 

And [there was] also a certain young deacon, with 

a sweet voice, and fine appearance, 
Tall in stature, and intelligent of face, from the village 

of 1n-Barkg,' 
[Page 184] Him did Satan one day smite in the temple, 
1645 And he beat him with violent blows, and buffeted 

him, and entreated him evilly. 
And without mercy he made him to be like unto a 

dead man in whom there is no feeling ; 
And his parents took him up, and brought him to 

this holy old man. 
And Rabban, having gone forth and seen him in this 

evil case. 
According to his custom, anointed him with the oil 

of prayer, and prayed over him. 

* See Thomas of Margi, Bk. I. Chap. 3i {Book of Governors^ vol. II. 
p. io3). 


1650 And the devil began to say unto the old man, "Have 

no anxiety about him, 
! "And cast me not forth from him, | for thus is itFoi. 58^ 
permitted to be to him, 
"For whilst he was burning incense in the censer in 

the apse by the altar, 
"He was gazing lasciviously and lustfully at the 

women in the temple." 
The old man saith unto the devil, "Come forth from 
him by the word of Christ 
1655 "Which overthroweth your wiles, and thou shalt not 
in any way whatsoever harm him." 
And at the holy man's word the devil went out from 

that young man, 
And Rabban commanded him neither to eat flesh 

nor to drink wine for a year. 
Then Satan went into the cell of Rabban, the old 
man of the East, 
I And took his ink and poured it out upon the quire 

of paper upon which he was writing. 
1660 And the Evil One broke the little stool upon which 
\ he used to sit, 

! And the pitcher of water, which our Rabban used 
to keep in the yard. 
The Evil One threw under a rock, and then he 

departed thence. 
And going into his house Rabban marvelled at the 

wickedness of the devil[s]. 
And how, even in small matters, they wished to do 
harm unto men. 
[665 And he said, "O Christ, our Lord, Thou art the 
strength of Thy servants who believe on Thee. 


[Page 185] Section LI. 

Foi. 59 a There was a certain widow who lived in the village 

of Beth MarAth, 
And she had a fair and beautiful daughter who was 

a virgin ; 
And a certain Magian, a nobleman of the city of 

Adiabene, who had heard 
Of her fair beauty, wished to come and carry her 

away by force ; 
1670 And her mother, having learned [this], ran to the 

refuge of Rabban's prayers. 
And hearing [this] the old man said unto her, **Weep 

not, O blessed old woman, 
•'For he who bindeth laws is not like unto him who 

looseth them ;" 
And he gave her some of the dust of the martyrs, 

and said unto her, "Depart, old woman, to 

thy house, 
"And seven days from this time thy deliverance will 

make itself known." 
1675 And when the limit of the days which our Rabba 

had marked out had been passed, 
Certain men came from the Monastery of Geshra, 

and told the old woman, 
[Saying,] "That Magian having come to the bridge 

to pass over to you 
"Suddenly fell in the Great Zabh, and he and his 

horse were drowned together." 
Foi. 59 b And hearing her report | every man ascribed praise 

unto God. 


Section LII. 

1680 Again, a certain believing man from the village of 

Gupta once 
Took some wine, and came to do a kindness unto 

the brethren who were in the monastery. 
And having set down the wine skins in the monastery, 

and shut the door, 
One of the skins burst, and all the wine that was in 

it ran out. 
And the potter having come [there] by night for 

some purpose 
1685 Saw that the wine of [one] skin was lost, and ran 

and told the old man secretly, 
Saying, "What shall we do. Father ? For this believer 

is a poor man. 
"[Page 186J He brought the wine and it has been 

spilled, and if he knoweth [of it] he will buy 

[other wine] in its place." 
And the old man Rabba said unto him, "Go, fill that 

skin with water, 
"And throw this dust of the martyrs in it, and let it 

[stand] till the morning ; 
1690 "And come, O my beloved, when the day hath 

dawned, that I may tell thee what to do." 
That brother, having gone and done secretly what 

Rabban commanded him. 
Came in the morning to him and shewed him that 

he had done according to his word. 
The old man answered and said unto him, "Depart, | 

my son, in the peace of Christ. Foi.6oa 


**By the prayer of the holy old men who are in our 

poor congregation, 
1695 "That water shall become unto them good and pleasant 

wine ; 
"But, by the Word of Christ our Lord, reveal not 

this to any man 
"Until I depart from the body unto the place where 

God pleaseth/' 
And after the death of Rabban that excellent brother 

This glorious miracle which Christ had wrought by 


Section LIII. 

1700 At the time when Zakkai was pouring forth on every 

man a bribe 
Through the infidel Gabriel, that he might increase 

the seed of his blasphemy, 
He led captive by his wicked error the village of 

Harbath Nespa of Ardod. 
And Rabban Bar-*Idta sent unto those people, saying, 
"Because ye have given up the truth, and have 

grasped the error of Zakkai, 
1705 "God will send upon you this year three punishments : 
"Hail, drought, and mildew, for the avenging of your 

works ;" 
And hearing [this] some of them mocked, and some 

of them said, "[These words] are true." 
Foi. 6o^And at the end of the aforementioned winter, on 

Saturday, the tenth day of the month Nisan, 
God rained upon them a cloud of hail from heaven. 


17 lo [Page 187] And within it was a burning fire, and it 
laid waste all their fields, 

And after it there was a great drought, and it destroyed 
what was left, 

And then the fire of the Lord went forth all round 
about the wicked men. 

And it wasted and destroyed all the green grass and 
herbs of their fields. 

Thus that which the holy old man had seen concern- 
ing them was fulfilled, 
17 15 And finally, through their rebellious nature, the infidels 
were put to shame. 

Section LIV. 

A certain man from the village of B6th ZS.bhaye, 

which is blessed 
And praiseworthy, and is situated in the country of 

Nineveh, told us. 
Saying, "At the coming of the sorcerer 
"Zakkai, the servant of Satan, the deceiver of the 

1720 "When he sent ambassadors unto us with a bribe, 

and we drove them away, 
"And we were afraid of the compulsion of Gabriel, 

the physician of Chosroes, 
"Lest he meditated our submission at the gate of 

the Persian king, 
"For he was uttering lies against us to bring us 

under the yoke of his evil error, | 
"Straightway, on that very day, we sent an elder of foI. 6i n 

our Church, 


1725 "Unto our father, Rabban Bar-'Idta, the advocate of 

"Saying, We beseech thee, Master, to pray for us, 
"That we may be saved from this storm which is 

raised up against the Church. 
"And the holy man sent unto us a cross from his cell 
"That it might be set up in our holy and believing 

church of Beth ZabhayS. 
1730 "And he sent unto us by the elder [a message], 

saying. Error shall have 
"Never the power to come in to you all the days 

of the world. 
"And having gained consolation from the message 

of Rabban, we 
"[Page x88] Placed our confidence in his prayer, and 

we suffered no harm. 
"And thus Christ saved us from Zakkai and from 

1735 "And behold, we placed the cross in our church which 

He preserved by His power for our village." 

Section LV. 

And a certain monk of this our congregation. 
Whose name was Yawnan, who came from the blessed 

village of Karmelish, 
Went one day to see his parents according to this 
Foi.6ifc And having returned from | the village of Karmelish, 

and arrived at the river Hazar, 
1740 A fierce lion met him, and prevented him from crossing 
to the other side, 


And having looked hither and thither, and there being 

no man [to help him], and behold, the lion was 

coming over towards him, 
The hope of saving his life was cut off from him 

through the fear which had fallen upon him. 
"And", said he, "I cried out in my mind to the God 

of all, and I said, 
"O Lord, Thou Living God, if by the prayer of the 

holy man, 
1745 "Rabban Bar-^Idt^, I be delivered from this wild beast, 
"I will never again in all my life go forth from my 

cell or from the monastery into any [other] place." 
And that brother took an oath, saying, * Immediately 

the lion had been adjured by me, 
'*That mighty lion was restrained by the prayer of 

Rabban Bar-'Idta, 
"And he at once left me and departed, and I never 

saw him again, and I regained my strength. 
1750 "And having arrived and come to the monastery, 

before I entered my cell, 
"I went to the blessed man, and prayed, and was 

blessed by him, 
"And he answered and said unto me, O my son 

Yawnan, how wast thou saved and delivered 
"From the lion which met thee on the bank of the 

river Hazar? 


"For behold, it seemed as if thou wert | standing be- FoL 62 a 

fore me in fear, 
1755 "And as if thou wert praying to God to deliver thee 

from the lion. 
"[Page 189] My son Ydwnan, thou servant of Jesus, 

this hath happened for thy benefit, 


''Because thy going to the house of thy parents was 

not beneficial for thy life. 
"Thou hast done well in making a covenant with 

Christ, the Lord of all, 
''Never to do again the like of this, and never to 

go again to thy kinsfolk/* 

Section LVL 

1760 And our father had the custom of sitting in silent 

contemplation in [his] cell 
During certain special weeks, wherein he never went 

out into the temple, 
I mean, the weeks of our Lord's fast, and of the fast 

of the Apostles, 
And the week of Mar Elijah, and also the week of 

Mar Moses, 
And thus the holy man did for a period of about 

twenty years, 
1765 And without absolute necessity he never opened his 

door to any man. 
Now there was a little opening in the outside of the 

cell of the blessed man. 
Through which he put his pure hand, and from the 

inside, set therein some dust of the martyrs. 
This opening was made in [his] yard, on the western side, 
Foi. 62 b And the cross was fixed above it, | even as we have 

said above. 
1770 And he used to say, "Let every man who hath need, 

or who is afflicted in any way, 
"Take of the holy dust of the martyrs", which he 

had blessed and placed in the opening. 


"And I", said the old man, "behold, I will pray as 

is most right, 
"And our Lord, in His might, will give unto him 

that hath need, that which is best for him." 
Every sick or afflicted man who came to that opening, 
1775 And who took, in faith, some of the martyrs' dust 

which the old man had placed there, 
Straightway whatever pain or sickness which the be- 
lieving man had 
Was driven out from him by the Lord, through the 

prayers of the holy man. 
And that holy brother, who used to work the mill 
[Page 190] Which we had in the monastery, related to 
I me the following : — 

1780 "One day the mule which used to work the mill fell ill, 
"And was about to die immediately ; and we were 

greatly troubled because we had no other [animal]. 
"And he remained ill for two days, during which the 

camel did the work in his stead." 
I "And", said he, "I went and bowed down before the 
! cross which Rabban had set up, 

"And I took [some of] the martyrs' dust from the Foi.63a 

window, and some water from the well 
1785 **0f the holy and strenuous old man, Rabban Bar- 

"And I went and rubbed the whole of the mule's 

body and his head with them, 
"Crying out meanwhile to Christ by the prayer of our 

holy father." 
And that brother swore, saying, "As soon as I had 

done this, 
"The mule had relief, and he stood up upon his legs, .... 


1790 "And he at once drew nigh unto the manger and 
betook himself to eating and drinking ; 
"And when the day had come, and all men knew 
about it, they gave thanks unto God, and glori- 
fied Him." 

Section LVII. 

And again a certain young man of the brethren, who 

had recently gone forth into a cell. 
Sometimes sadly, and sometimes gladly and smilingly, 

told us the following : — 
"Once there was stirred up within me the deadly 

lust for women." 
1795 And neither by night nor by day did it ever leave 

him, even for a little space. 
But he was always burning, as it were, with a deadly 

fire ; 
"In this wise was lust blazing in my heart both by 

day and by night. 
"I practised constant fasting, and kept vigil, and 

abstained from water, 
"I used no oil whatsoever, and I took no repose. | 
1800 "And I decided to go quickly to the opening, and 
Foi. 63^ to ask for prayer, 

"[Page 191] And, said he, I went, and I fell down 

weeping in prayer to God. 
"And I made supplication by the prayer of Rabban 

that our Lord would visit me with grace, 
"And would not let me slip from [His] hand, and 

that [my] passions might not make a mock of me. 
"And I felt as if power went forth from Rabban 


1805 '*And entered into my members, and drove out my 
passion and the misery of my disturbed mind. 

"Then after these things I lived in rest, and peace, 
and tranquillity, 

"The which I am not able to describe with the tongue 
of flesh." 

Section LVIII. 

There is a cruel and painful sickness which is called 

Which maketh a man's whole body weak, and pierceth 

every member, 
1 810 And he lieth in tortures and agonies of pain as if 

he had been stricken for a long time, 
And he is unable to move for any thing whatsoever. 
Upon our brother, whose name was David, and who 

was from the great village of BabhethH — 
Now he was the son of honourable and famous folk 

— this disease fell for some days. 
And although the parents of this brother employed FoL 64 a 

1 8 15 And they brought him medicines of every kind, his 

sickness continued to wax strong. 
Now the brother himself rejected everything, and took 

refuge in Rabban's prayer, 
And one night he spake unto us in this wise : — 
Now he had a natural brother who was younger 

than he, 
And he said unto him, "Rise up, my brother, take 

hold of my hands that I may stand upon my feet, 



1820 "And hold me on one side, and on the other I will 

take hold of my staff. 
"And let us go, by the might of our Lord, to Rabban's 

"Perhaps through the God of the worlds I shall be 

worthy of death or life, 
"Or perhaps God will work for me deliverance by 

the prayer of Rabban." 
[Page 192] And he asserted with oaths, and spake unto 

us thus: — 
1825 "When I had drawn nigh to the window, and had knelt 

and worshipped before the cross, 
"And had fallen upon my face and had slumbered, 

sleep came upon me and I slept. 
"And I was kneeling upon the ground like a man 

half asleep and half awake, 
"And behold, a dove went forth suddenly from the 

cell of the holy man, 
"And she alighted upon me, and hovered about on 

all sides of me with outspread wings, | 
i83o "And the sickness flew away from me in the form of 
Foi. 64^ loathsome flies, 

"And departed to a great distance by the might of 

our Lord, and by the prayer of Rabban. 
"Then I awoke, and cried unto my brother, and I 

said with joy, 'Hail, cross !' 
"And he said to me, 'Behold, here am I, my brother'; 

and I said unto him, *0 my beloved, 
"'Didst thou see the beautiful dove standing above 

my head?* 
i835 "He said to me, 'No, my brother David, by God 

I saw nothing.' 


"I said unto him, 'Rise up, O my brother, for God 

hath given me healing.'" 
And he rose up, and came to his cell, leaping like 

a stag, 
And he had need neither of the support of the staff, 

nor of the holding of the hand. 
And all who heard glorified God, and praised Rabban 


Section LIX. 

1840 O how many instances of help arose from the martyrs' 

dust which people took from him! 
O how many sicknesses were driven away from men 

by his prayers ! 
And even the waters which were taken from the 

fountain which was near him. 
When sprinkled about or used to make a sign, kept 

away death from the flock. | 

Section LX. 

I [Page 193] Before the departure of Rabban there went Foi. 65 a 

. forth into this country of Marga 

1845 An evil night-wolf, according to what is said in 

' Jeremiah. 

And many young children, from their couches. 

That is to say, from their cradles, were snatched 

away and devoured. 

Now this did not take place in one village [only], 

the wolf being found in another. 

But from many villages in one night children were 

snatched away. 



1850 As soon as deep sleep fell [upon men] he would 
come unawares and unperceived by them ; 

And many passed the whole night without sleep 
[watching for him], 

And many crowds of people were gathered together 
and went round their houses with weapons. 

And when they saw that this evil had increased [and 
merited] punishment, 

The village[r]s gathered themselves together and came 
to the holy man, weeping 
1855 For their children that had been eaten by the plague 
of night-wolves. 

And having received from Rabban some dust of mar- 
tyrs, and water from his fountain of prayer, 
" They sprinkled it on the boundaries of their villages, 
and the night-wolves were driven away. | 

Section LXI. 

Foi. 65 b Again, in the village of Beth Kushta there were two 

One of them had a son and the other had a daughter. 
i860 And their parents joined them together in marriage, 

according to the custom 
Which hath obtained among men from everlasting by 

the command of the Lord. 
Now for some reason, the sinfulness of which was 

hidden from them. 
Although it was revealed unto Rabban, some act of 

remissness was committed by them. 
Therefore whenever they went forth from their houses 

for [any] purpose, 


1865 Or one of them was going back therein, that is to 

say, to his place, 
[Page 194] A phantom appeared unto him, that is, a 

devil in the form of his companion. 
If the young man was entering the house when the 

young woman was not therein. 
There would suddenly appear unto him the form of 

his uncle's daughter. 
As it were lying down and sleeping with him on a 

marriage bed. 
1870 And her husband being terrified and in fear went 

forth thence quickly, 
Crying out, "Oh, oh, what is this | wonderful thing?" Foi.66a 
And if the young woman was going into her house 

when the young man was not therein, 
Similarly he appeared unto her, and she would cry 

out and flee from her chamber. 
Then their parents ran and came to the holy old man, 
1875 And with tears related unto him all these things which 

had happened, 
And he, like the skilful physician, who knoweth the 

illnesses of the sick. 
Commanded the young folk to take good heed about 

one thing {or, cause); 
But what that thing was he never revealed, and his 

disciples asked him not. 
But he told them to hold themselves at a great 

distance from one thing only. 
1880 And he gave them some of the holy martyrs' dust, 

and water to sprinkle in that house. 
And thus, through God, that devilish appearance was 

done away. 


Section LXII. 

Mar Bar-ldta became a disciple of M&r Abraham the 

Great, ' 
When he was fully twenty and three years old, 
And he dwelt with the holy man thirty years, as it 

is written. 
1885 From the time when he came here to MargS he lived 

fifty years, in truth. 
Foi. 66 b Behold, all the years which | our father the holy man 

lived amount to 
One hundred years' in ascetic excellence, and three 

years in a state of perfection. 
And being bowed by extreme old age, the end of 

his life drew nigh, 
[Page 19s] And he knew beforehand by the Holy 

Spirit, and the day of his end was shewn to him. 
1890 On the day of our Lord's Epiphany, and of the Bap- 
tism of the Sanctifier of all. 
As he was standing at the head of his sons, in prayer 

in the holy temple. 
There his God revealed unto him, because he had 

loved Him and kept His Word, 
That he should very soon be removed from this world 

to Paradise. 
And as soon as the day had dawned, he called his 

beloved ones, and they came before him with joy, 

' /. e.f the head of the Great Monastery on Mount tzla. 

* We know from line 520 that he founded his monastery A. Gr. 
873 = A. D. 562, and that he was at least 53 years old when he did 
so ; he lived 50 years in Marga, therefore he must have died about 
A. D. 612. If these figures be correct he was born A, D. 509. 



1895 And he sat on the lowest step of the stairs leading 
to the altar, and then he spake unto them : — 

Section LXIII. 

fBi:f)Ovtatione [of Sar^'^^ta]. 

"My sons and my beloved, remain in the peace of 

"Behold, the seal of my days hath come, and the 

end of the years of my life." 
And immediately his disciples were greatly moved, 

when they heard of his separation from them, 
And they all began to weep and to utter cries of 

woe mournfully. 
igoo But he rejoiced and | was glad in the strenuousness foI. 67 a 

of his glorious deeds, 
And he glorified God Who had sustained and 

strengthened him all his days. 
And he made his sons to cease from weeping, and 

said to them in admonition, 
"My sons, keep that which I have taught you, and 

this also I command you, 
"The orthodox faith of the truly orthodox men, 
1905 "Who, after the Apostles, sent it into the country of 

the East. 
"O sons, put not your confidence in a healthy belief, 
"Unto which are not joined and bound the deeds of 

the freedom of the soul. 
"For it is said in the Book of Life, and in the books 

of the Fathers, 
"That faith without works is, in very truth, a dead 



1910 "For as man is composed of body and soul, 

"And one of these without the other is not a perfect man, 
"[Page 196] So indeed is it in this case ; without good 

and upright works 
"Faith benefiteth nothing, neither do works benefit 

without faith. 
"For as in the healthy body his life cometh from 
his soul, 
1915 "And without that living soul the body cannot con- 
tinue in health, 
Foi. 67 b "Thus also I the free soul is a living thing in the 

faith of Christ, 
"And if there be no faith therein it also is a dead 

thing by itself. 
"And love ye each other in love as Christ loved you 
"And delivered His soul unto death for you all and 

for your sakes. 
1920 "And let there be manifest in you the discipleship 

of His love, the guardian of His place, 
"That ye may utter neither calumnies nor lies against 

each other. 
"And if any man among you shall be pre-eminent 

in human frailty, 
"And folly {or, sin) appear in him, correct him in 

the love of Christ ; 
"And your armour against Satan shall be fasting and 

prayer ; 
1925 "And every service of your life season ye with the 

salt of humility. 
"Be ye careful to read the Holy Scriptures continually, 
"And be ye the cause of good to your souls, and 

to the glory of the Name of your Lord, 


"For it is written in the Gospel of Life, from the 

mouth of the Vivifier of all, 
"Blessed is the servant through whom the Name of 

his Lord shall be glorified, 
1930 "And Christ Jesus our Lord will crown their contend- 

ings I 
"With the light of His living Cross and the glory of Foi. 68 a 

His happiness. 
"And with the righteous, who have lived and shall 

live in all generations, 
"At the Resurrection ye shall have happiness in the 

glory of the Lord;" and they all answered. Yea 

and Amen. 
And as he was speaking with joy they were hearkening 

with weeping, 
1935 And then they rose up for the Holy Mysteries, and 

he took some of the holy bread, and went to 

his cell. 

Section LXIV. 
[Page 197] IZlyt JOeatf) of ouf Satf)tv. 

On the night of the eighth day of the month of the 
Latter Khanon,' 

His pious and holy soul winged its way to the trea- 
suries of the kingdom. 

And the coenobites, who had been commanded to 
watch him having come, 

Informed his disciples concerning his departure from 

^ This month corresponds roughly with our January. 


1940 Then they all were greatly moved, and gathered 

themselves together, and went in to their nurse. 
And governor, and leader. Mar Bar-'Idta, their object 

of boasting. 
Who would not weep to see Rabban Bar-^IdtH who 

In the corner of his chapel with his hands fastened 

upon his breast ? 
Foi. 68 b Who would not weep and sigh | to see him who 

had been glorious 
1945 Lying prostrate in his chapel before God Who is to 

be praised ? 
Who would not string together lamentations for that 

person of excellence 
On seeing him continuing in worship whilst his soul 

was in the chamber of joys ? 
Then they laid him down on the mat on which he 

used to sit and stand. 
And they swathed him in funeral raiment, according to 

custom, and we brought his body along in honour. 
1950 And the rumour of his death was carried into all 

the villages round about us, 
And priests, and noblemen, and believing men, gath- 
ered together in crowds ; 
And we sang the funeral service over his honourable 

body for two days with great pomp. 
And we laid him in a coffin made by a potter, and 

then buried him in the martyrium. 
After the burial of our father we celebrated his 

honourable commemoration 
1955 With a company of chosen priests and believing 



And after four days the believers of Beth GhiirbcLk 

That Bar-*Idta their Rabba was dead, and they were 

filled with great grief. 
And they came here [having made] preparation to 

take his body to their village, 
[Page 198] And there was a great tumult | in all the Foi. 69 a 

villages round about us. 
i960 And the believing men were nigh unto murders and 

If they had not been pacified by means of the prayers 

of the holy man. 
The sons of B6th Ghilrbak were crying out with a 

loud voice, and saying, 
'We have ten parts in Rabban Bar-'IdtH and his 

"Rabban Bar-*Idt3, belongeth more to us than to any 

one else, 
1965 * 'Because our holy Church is built in the name of 

the pious man. 
"We have taken the greatest care for him and for 

the things which are his, 
"And the monastery is ours;" and, [saying] other 

words of this kind, they became very violent, 
But seeing and observing that the monks, his blessed 

And the believers were coming forward to pacify 

them, they relaxed their violence. 
1970 Now the name of the head of the church who was 

with them was Abhd-lsho', 
A prudent and pacific man, and exceedingly rich in 

the fear of our Lord. 



And he drew the Ninevites on one side, and said 

unto them, 
"0 my sons, bring not upon your village a curse, 

instead of blessings, 
Foi. 69 b "But let us, like | believers, open the coffin of his 

holy body, 
1975 "And take therefrom a blessing, and then depart in 

And they thought this [counsel] the better, and watched 

in prayer the night, 
And in the morning they did as they had said, and 

approached the pious body. 
The sons of Beth Ghiirbak the blessed took [one] of 

the fingers of the holy man as 
A blessing, and they wrapped [it] in scented byssus- 

cloths and fine silk, 
1980 And they laid it in a box which had been prepared, 

and departed to their village with joy ; 
And the people went out from the village, and re- 
ceived it with great honour. 
Concerning those benefits which flowed therefrom in 

Beth Ghiirbak, 
[Page 199] They themselves are the preachers of his 

wonderful works ; 
By the prayers of the holy man, the venerable Rabban 

1985 May the inhabitants of that village be protected from 

all harm. 
And we all make supplication unto Christ, our Lord 

and our Hope, 
To shield at all times with the right hand of His 

Providence the monastery of our father. 


And as God was with us during the life of our father, 

So may He be among us after his departure from us, 

1990 And with the pious priests and deacons, and the 

believers of all ranks | 
Who have celebrated the day of the commemoration foL 70 a 

of our holy and pious father. 
May they be protected by the prayers of the blessed 

man Mar Bar-'Idta 
From all the afflictions of disturbed and troubled times. 
Christ, bless by the prayer of Thy chosen one 

Rabban Bar-'Idta 
1995 This country and the inhabitants thereof, and all 

countries round about. 
O Christ, bless by the prayer of Thy holy one Mar 

The crown of the year in which we now are, and 

let the year be an acceptable one. 
Christ, preserve by his prayer the priesthood and 

And let peace reign among us until the end of the 

2000 O Christ, by his prayer establish the great Shepherd 

of the East; 
Mar ' the Patriarch, and lengthen the 

days of his sitting. 
O Christ, by his prayer protect the Shepherd of Mawsel, 

the well built [city]. 
Mar ' the most pious, and make his life 

to revolve in peace. 
O Christ, establish by his prayer the shepherds at 

the head of their flocks, 

^ Here the name is to be inserted. 


2005 And visit them as Thou didst visit [the Israelites] by 

the hands of Moses and Aaron. 
O Christ, preserve by his prayer this monastery and 

the dwellers therein, | 
Foi. 70 b And let neither the Evil One nor plundering enemies 

have dominion over it. 
[Page 200] O Christ, preserve by his prayer this village 

in which we sojourn ; 
And multiply therein rest, and peace, and love, and 

mercy, and learning. 
2010 Christ, by his prayer bless the elders and deacons 
Who minister in his pure temple with the hymns of 

the Holy Spirit. 
O Christ, preserve by his prayer him who voweth 

unto him a vow, 
And let his vow be accepted as an acceptable thing 

with the mites of the widow. 
Christ, accept by his prayer the offering which 

shall be offered unto Thee, 
2015 And let it be at Thy coming for the relief of thy 

believing servants who make offerings unto him. 
O Christ, by his prayer bless the multitudes who have 

honoured his commemoration. 
From evening until morning, and from morning until 

O Christ, support by his prayer the old men and old 

women ; 
O Christ, strengthen by his prayer the young men 

and young women ; 
2020 O Christ, preserve by his prayer the youths and maidens ; 
O Christ, strengthen by his prayer believing men and 



O Christ, heal by his prayer all such as are sick and 

And grant | unto them healing of the body and foI. 71 a 

preservation of the soul with glory, 
O Christ, pardon by his prayer the sins and offences 

of those who are dead, 
2025 And at the Resurrection make them worthy of the 

fair glory of Thy kingdom. 
O Christ, adjure by his prayer the fiends and devils 

which possess men 
That they may nevermore find occasion to vex Thy 

O Christ, grant by his prayers unto barren women 

beloved sons. 
O Christ, grant by his prayers comfort unto all 

2o3o O Christ, by his prayer make wars, and battles, and 

strifes to cease. 
And make Thy peace to dwell in Thy Church unto 

the end of the world. 
[Page 201] O Christ, remember by the prayer of Thy 

friend Rabban Bar-*Idta 
Abraham who composed this discourse on him, and 

spare him in both worlds. 
O Christ, have mercy upon Thy servant Abraham, 

and upon his parents, 
2035 Who by Thy power and help undertook to compose 

the discourse on Thy saint. 

Here endeth this History of MAr Rabban Bar-'Idta; to God be 
glory, and worship, and honour, for ever and ever i 


Colophons : — i . This book was finished and ended 
on the nineteenth day of the blessed month Adhar, 
on the day of the Great Sabbath of the dawn of the 
night of the great First Day of the week of the Resur- 
rection, in the year one thousand, eight hundred, and 
ninety-three of the birth of Christ our Lord. Glory 
be unto Him that maketh times and seasons to pass 
away, and Who Himself shall never, never pass away ! 
Yea and Amen. 

2. It was written in the blessed village of Al-K6sh, 
the village of Nahum the Prophet, which is set and 
laid out by the side of the Monastery of Mar Rabban 
H6rmizd the Persian ; may our Lord make it to dwell 
in His mighty right Hand ! Yea and Amen. 

3. It was written in the days of the Father of 
Fathers, and the Chief of shepherds, who bindeth on 
crowns, who anointeth priests, who fasteneth on girdles, 
and bestoweth ecclesiastical dignities. Mar filiya the 
Thirteenth, the Catholicus and Patriarch of Babel of 
the East. May Christ establish his throne to the end 
of days through the prayer of the Apostles and 
Fathers, and may He extend his days and lengthen 
his years to the boasting of the Catholic Church ! 
Yea and Amen. 

4. [This colophon is identical with No. 4 on page 108.] 








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Antiquities of the East. Edited by W. St. Chad Boscawen and 
Rev. H. M. Mackenzie. Single numbers, is, 6d, each. 

Bereridge (A. S.).— The History of Humayun. By Gul- Baden Begam 
(Princess Rose-Body). Translated, with Introduction, Notes, Illus- 
trations, and Biographical Appendix ; and reproduced in the Persian 
from the only known manuscript of the British Museum, by A. S. 
Beveridge. 8vo. Cloth, pp. xiv, 332, and 96 pages of Persian 
text. With 10 plates, los. net 

Bezold (Ch.). — Oriental Diplomacy : being the transliterated Text of 

the Cuneiform Despatches between the • King of Egypt and 

Western Asia in the Fifteenth Century before Christ, discovered at 

Tell el Amarna, and now preserved in the British Museum. With 

full Vocabulary, Grammatical Notes, etc., by Charles Bezold. 

Post 8vo. Cloth, pp. xliv, 124. i8j. net. 

" For the Assyriologist the book is a serviceable and handy supplement to the 
British Museum volume on the Tell el Amarna tablets. The author is specially 
skilled in the art of cataloguing and dictionary making, and it is needless to say that 
he has done his work well." — The Academy. 

" Die in dem Hauptwerke (The Tell el Amarna Tablets in the British Museum, 
with autotype Facsimiles, etc.) vermiste Transcription des Keilschrift-textes der 
Tafeln, sowie ein sehr ausfQhrliches, mituntcr die Vollstandigkeit einer Concordanz 
erreichendes Vocabulary bietet die Oriental Diplomacy von C. Bezold, das eben 
deshalb gewissermassen als SchlUssel zu dem Publicationswerke betracbtet werden 
kann." — Liter. Centralblatt. 

Biblia. — A Monthly Magazine, devoted to Biblical Archaeology and 

Oriental Research. Annual subscription, including postage, ds. 6d, 

Single numbers, 6d. 

" The object of the Biblia is to present the latest information in regard to the work 
of the Egyptian Exploration Fund, the Palestine Exploration Fund, and the work of 
American, French, and German Explorers. Attention is given also to Classical and 
Mediaeval Archaeology, reviews of new books, etc." 

Biblical World, The.— Edited by William R. Harper. Published 
monthly. Annual subscription, 9J. Single numbers, is, 

" The Biblical World makes a faithful record and helpful critic of present Biblical 
Work, as well as an efficient practical and positive independent force in stimulating 
and instructing the student, preacher, and teacher." 

4 Messrs. JLuzac 6r* Co.^s 

Brliiinle (Paul). — Contribations towards Arabic Philolog^y. Part I : 
The Kitab al-maksur wa'l-mamdud. By Ibn Wallad. Being a 
Treatise, Lexicographical and Grammatical, from Manuscripts in 
Berlin, London, Paris. Edited with Texts, Critical Notes, Intro- 
duction, Commentary, and Indices. By Dr. Paul Bronnle. 
I : Arabic Text. Roy. 8vo. Cloth, pp. xii, 128. 7^. dd, net ; paper 
covers, dr. net. 

*' This is the first of a series of ten parts, in which it is intended to publish some 
important works of the earliest Arabic authors, together with systematic mvestigations 
into the various branches of Arabic Philology." 

" In the second part, which contains the Introduction and Commentary to the 
Arabic text given in the first part, along with a Preface and Bibliography to the whole 
series, the author will have opportunity of enlar^ng at some length upon the 
principles by which he has been guided in embarking upon this scheme." 

Browne (E. G.). — Account of a rare Manuscript History of Ispahan. 
8vo, pp. 9a IS. 6d, net 

Browne (E. G.). — Biographies of Persian Poets. Contained in 
Chapter V, Section 6, of the T4rikh-i-Guzida, or " Select History," 
of HamdullAh Mustawfl of Qazwin. Translated by E. G. Browne. 
8vo, pp. 80. 2s. net. 

Browne (E. G.). — The Chahar Maq£la (Four Discourses) of Nidhimi-i- 
'ardd(-i-samarqandi. Translated into English by £. G. BROWNE. 
Demy 8vo. Cloth, pp. 139. 4s. net. 

Browne (E. G.).— The Tadhkiratu *Sh-Shu'ar& (Memoirs of the Poets) 
of Dawlatshdh bin 'Ald'u 'd-dawla Bakhtishdh al-Ghdz( of Samar^ 
qand. Edited in the Original Persian, with Prefaces and Indices, 
by £. G. Browne. Roy. 8vo. Cloth, pp. xvi, 10, 622. i&r. net. 

Badge (E. A. WalUs).— Oriental Wit and Wisdom, or the ** Laughable 
Stories." Collected by MAr. Gregory John Bar - Hebraeus, 
Maphrian of the East from a.d. 1264 to 1286. Translated from the 
Syriac by E. A. Wallis Budge, M.A., Litt.D., D.Lit. Roy. 8vo. 
Cloth, pp. xxvii, iv, 204. dr. net. 

"In the Preface to the present publication the satisfactory remark is made that 
the volume containing both the S3Tiac Text and the Translation, published 1897, 
price 21J. (see the notice in the Athenetum for March 13th, 1897), 'has been wdl 
received, both in England and on the Continent,' and that ' in answer to many 
requests from Students of Literature generally.' Messrs. Luzac & Co. ' have decided 
to issue the English Translation of it separately in a handy form.' " 

" In such circumstances the new volume is likely to succeed, and we need only add 
that, although many of the sayings are at war with the finer aesthetic taste of the 
present day. the collection is fairly representative, and of considerable value. Of 
some special interest appears to us to be the twentieth chapter, ' Physiological 
Characteristics described by the Sages.' " — AthemBum. 

Budge (E. A. Wallb).— The History of the Blessed Virgin Mary and 
The History of the Likeness of Christ which the Jews of Tiberias 
made to mock at. The Syriac Texts edited with English Trans- 
lations by E. A. Wallis Budge, M.A., Litt.D., D.Lit., Keeper 
of the Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities in the British Museum. 
Vol. I, The Syriac Texts, pp. xi, 224. \2s. td. net. Vol. II, 
English Translations, pp. xvii, 246. los. 6d. net. [Luzac's Semitic 
Text and Translation Series, Vols. IV and V.] 

List of Books and Periodicals* 5 

" To Mr. Budge belongs, however, the great merit of having very materially 
enriched no fewer than four different branches of Oriental Literature. Several of his 
editions will no doubt serve as the groundwork for future publications. • . . The 
general aspect of the volumes is all that could be desired." — Atfunttum. 

"It may be regarded as an exceptionally excellent commentary on the 'New 
Testament, the main lines of which it closely follows, for in dealing with the same 
facts it lets in a great deal of light on the manners, customs, and ideas of the country 
and the period. . . . The translations are in admirable English, and evince 
singular ability. "—Ca/^/cV Times. 

Badge (E. A. Wallis).— The Histories of Rabban Honnizd the 

and Rabban Bar-*Idt&. Vol. I, Syriac Texts. Roy. 8vo, pp. xvi, 
202. i2s. 6d, net. [Luzac's Semitic Texts and Translation Series, 
Vol. IX.] 

Budge (E. A. Wallis).— The Histories of Rabbaa Hormizd the Persian 
and Rabban Bar-'IdtiU VoL II, Part i, English Translations. 
Roy. 8vo, pp. xlii, 304. lar. 6d. net. [Luzac's Semitic Text and 
Translation Series, Vol. X.] 

Badge (E. A. Wallis).— The Histories of Rabban Hormizd the Persian 
and Rabban Bar-'IdtiL Vol. II,^Part 2, The Metrical Life of Rabban 
Honnizd by Mir. Sergius of Adh^rbaijan. English Translations. 
Ro^. 8vo, pp. 23a lof. 6d net. [Luzac's Semitic Text and Translation 
Series, Vol. XL] 

Badge (E. A. Wallis).— The History of BaralUm and Y^wiM. The 

Ethiopic Version translated from the Arabic by Enbil^dm for the 
Ethiopian King Galiwdewis, A.D. 1553. 2 vols, in 3. VoL I, 
The Ethiopic Text ; VoL 1 1, English Translation, Introduction, etc. 
{In the Press,) 

Budge (E. A. Wallis). — The Laughable Stories collected by Bar- 

Hebraeus. The Syriac Text, with an English Translation, by 

E. A. Wallis Budge, LittD., F.S.A., Keeper of the Department 

of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities, British Museum. 8vo. Cloth. 

2 IX. net. [Luzac's Semitic Text and Translation Series, Vol. I.] 

"Dr. Budge's book will be welcome as a handy reading - book for advanced 
students of Syriac, but in the meantime the stories will be an addition to the literature 
of gnomes and proverbs, of which so many are found in India, and in Persian, 
Hebrew, and Arabic, although not yet published. We are happy to say that 
Dr. Budge's new book is well edited and translated as far as we can judge." — 

" The worthy Syrian Bishop's idea of humour may excite admiration when we 
hear that he collected his quips in the grey dawn of the middle ages." — Pall Mall 

Bulletin de Tlnstitut fran9ais d'Arch^log^e Orientale. Public sous le 
direction of M. E. Chassinet. Vol. I. 410. ;£i 6j. net. [Messrs. 
Luzac & Co. are the sole agents for the sale of this " Bulletin " for 
England and America.] 

Cowper (B. H.). — Principles of Syriac Grammar. Translated and 
abridged from the work of Dr. Hoffmann. 8vo. Cloth, pp. 184. 
7J. bd. net. 

Crow (F. E.). — ^Arahic Manual. A Colloquial Handbook in the Sjrrian 
Dialect. For the use of visitors to Syria and Palestine, containing 
a simplified Grammar, a Comprehensive English and Arabic 

6 Messrs. Luzac &* CoJs 

Vocabulary and Dialogues. The whole in English Characters, 

carefully Transliterated, the Pronunciation being fully indicated. 

Crown 8vo. Cloth, pp. viii, 334. 7s. bd, 

" Messrs. Luzac have now issued a manual of colloquial Syrian Arabic, which 
will be of the greatest use to visitors, merchants, and consular officers .... 
Mr. Crow, formerly one of the most brilliant linguists of the student-interpreters of 
Constantinople, afterwards Vice-Consul at Beyrut." — The Spectator. 

Dawlatshah, see Browne. 

Efes Damtni. — A Series of ConTersations at Jerusalem between a 
Patriarch of the Greek Church and a Chief Rabbi of the Jews, 
concerning the Malicious Charge against the Jews of using Christian 
Blood. By J. B. Levinsohn. Translated from the Hebrew by 
Dr. L. LOEWE. Roy. 8vo. Cloth, pp. xvi, 208. (Published 8j.) 
Reduced price, 2j. (yd, 

Gaster (M.). — The Chronicles of Jerahmeel, or the Hebrew Bible 
Historiale. A Collection of Jewish Legends and Traditions. Trans- 
lated for the first time from an unique manuscript in the Bodleian 
Library. With an Introduction, Notes, and full Index, and five 
Facsimiles. Roy. 8va Cloth, pp. cxii, 341. With 5 plates. 101. net. 

Gibb (E. J. W.).--A History of Ottoman Poetry. By £. J. W. Gibb, 
M.R.A.S. Vol. I. Roy. 8vo. Cloth, pp. xxi, 454. 21 J. net. 
(Vol. II in the Press.) 

" The work, of which this volume is the first instalment, is planned on a magnificent 
scale, and its execution, if one may judge of the whole by a part, will fully answer 
to the conception. The first volume will take its rightful place as one of the most 
masterly contributions ever made to Oriental learning by an English scholar." — 

" Mr. Gibb writes as a master. He is undoubtedly the highest authority on Ottoman 
literature in this country. No genuine student of poetry in its manifold expressions 
can afford to neglect so curious and interesting a phase in its history." — Spectator. 

" This beautiful book will be welcomed not only by scholars, but by all who love 
the mysterious East. Messrs. Luzac & Co. must be congratulated on the manner in 
which they have brought out the book. It is to be hoped that the second volume 
will soon see the light." — Westminster Review. 

Hariri. — The Assemblies of al Hariri. Translated from the Arabic 
with an Introduction and Notes, Historical and Grammatical, by 
Th. Chenery and F. Steingass. With Preface and Index by 
F. F. Arbuthnot. 2 vols. 8vo. Cloth, pp. x, 540, and xi, 395. 
30J. net. 

Harper (Robert Francis). — Assyrian and Babylonian Letters, belonging 
to the K. Collection of the British Museum. By Robert Francis 
Harper, of the University of Chicago. Vols. I to VIII. Post 8vo. 
Cloth. Price of each vol., 25J. net. 

" The Assyriologist will welcome them with gratitude, for they offer him a mass 
of new material which has been carefully copied and well printed, and which cannot 
fail to yield important results." — AfkentEum. 

" The book is well printed, and it is a pleasure to read the texts given in it, with 
their large type and ample margin." — Academy. 

Hartmann (Martin). — The Arabic Press of Egypt. By Martin 

Hartmann. 8vo. Cloth, pp. ii, 93. 3J. dd, 

"A learned critical list of Arabic Publications." — Athenaum. 
"Such compilations as the present are valuable as Works of Reference, and as 
showing the intellectual activity of all those people who fall under British influence." — 
'Asiatic Quarterly Review, 

List of Books and Periodicals, 7 

Hebnuca. — A Quarterly Journal in the interests of Semitic Study. Edited 
by William R. Harper and the Staff of the Semitic Department 
of the University of Chicago. Published quarterly. Annual sub- 
scription, 145. See American Journal of Semitic Lang^ag^es, etc. 

Jastrow's Dictionaiy of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, 

and the Midrashic Literature. Compiled by M. Jastrow, Ph.D. 

Parts I to XV. 4to. Boards. 5^. each part. 

" This is the only Talmudic dictionaiy in English, and all students should subscribe 
to it. The merits of this work are now too well known to need repetition." — 
Jewish Chronicle. 

Kiog^ (Leonard W.). — Babylonian Maggie and Sorcery. Being ''The 

Prayers of the Lifting of the Hand." The Cuneiform Texts of a 

Group of Babylonian and Assyrian Incantations and Magical 

Formulae, edited with Transliterations. Translations and full 

Vocabulary from Tablets of the Kuyunjik Collection preserved in 

the British Museum. By Leonard W. King, M. A., Assistant in 

the Department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities, British 

Museum. Roy. 8vo. Cloth. i8j. net. 

" We cannot pretend to form an adequate judgment of the merits of Mr. King's 
work, but it is manifestly conceived and executed in a very scholarly spirit." — Times, 

" Mr. King's book will, we believe, be of great use to all students of Mesopotamian 
religions, and it marks an era in Assyriological studies in England. ... A word 
of special praise is due to Mr. King for the excellence of his autograph plates of 
text. ' ' — A ihenatim. 

Kiag (Leonard W.). — The Letters and Inscriptions of Hammurabi, 
King of Babylon about B.C. 2200, to which are added a Series of 
Letters of other Kings of the First Dynasty of Babylon. The 
Original Babylonian Texts, edited from Tablets in the British 
Museum, with English Translations, Summaries of Contents, etc. 
By L. W. King, M.A., F.S.A., Assistant in the Department of 
Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities, British Museum. In three 
volumes. Vol. I, Introduction and Babylonian Texts. Vol. II, 
Babylonian Texts (continued). Vol. Ill, Transliterations, English 
Translations, Vocabularies, Indices, etc. Roy. 8vo. Cloth. Vol. I, 
21s. net; Vol. II, iSj. net; Vol. Ill, iSs. net. [Luzacs Semitic 
Text and Translation Series, Vols. II, III, and VIII.] 

"The concluding volumes of this important book are out at last Mr. King 
supplies an excellent vocabulary for both the Sumerian and Semitic words used in 
these texts, and although his translation differs somewhat from that adopted by 
German cuneiform scholars, he has kept most commendably clear from philological 
discussion. . . . Alto^ethor, both he and the Museum are to be congratulated 
on the completion of a diffacult task." — Athenaum. 

" Mr. King may be congratulated on his copies of the cuneiform texts, and still 
more on his translations and notes. . . . The notes contain very full references to 
the dates found in tiie l^al documents of the period, by means of which several of 
the mutilated passages in the annals can be restored. . . . The value of these 
annals can scarcely be over-estimated." — (Professor Sayce) Expository Times. 

ISxag (Leonard W.). — The Seven Tablets of Creation, or the Babylonian 
and Assyrian Legends concerning the Creation of the World and of 
Mankind. 2 vols. Vol. I, English Translations, Transliterations, 
Glossary, Introduction, etc. Vol. II, Supplementary (Babylonian 
and Assyrian) Texts. Roy. 8vo. Vol. I, i8j. ; Vol. II, 151. 
[Luzac's Semitic Text and Translation Series, Vols. XII and XI I I.J 

8 Messrs. Luzac &* Co^s 

Kingf (Leonard W.).— A Contribation to Babjlonian History, being a 
Series of Babylonian Historical Texts with English Translations. 
[Luzac's Semitic Text and Translation Series, Vol. XIX.] In the 

Land (J. P. N.).— The Principles of Hebrew Grammar. By J. P. N. 
Land, Professor of Logic and Metaphysics in the University of 
Leyden. Translated from the Dutch by Reginald Lane Poole, 
Balliol College, Oxford. Demy 8vo. Cloth, pp. xx, 219. (Published 
7 J. tcL) Reduced price, 5^. 

Loewe (L.). — A Dictionary of the Circassian Language. In two parts. 
English — Circassian — Turkish, and Circassian— English — Turkish. 
8vo. Cloth. (Published 21J.) Reduced price, dr. 

Loewe (L.). — Efes Damim, see Efes. 

Luzac's Oriental Grammars Series. Vols. I and II, see Wynkoop; 
Vol. Ill, see Rosen ; Vol. IV, see Crow. 

Luzac's Oriental List Containing Notes and News on, and a Biblio- 
graphical List of all new Publications on Africa and the East. 
Published monthly. Annual subscription, 3^. Yearly volumes 
(with Index, half-bound), 5^. each. 

VoL I (1890) is entirely out of print A few copies of Vols. II, III, 
and IV are left at lou. each. Vols. V to XIII (1894- 1903) are still to be 
had at 5^. each. 

Luzac's Semitic Text and Translation Series. Vols. I, IV, V, IX, X, 
XI, and XVI to XVIII, see Budge ; Vols. II, III, VIII, XII, XIII, 
and XIX, see King ; Vols. VI, VII, XIV, and XV, see Thompson. 

Margoliouth (D. S.). — Arabic Papyri of the Bodleian Library. Repro- 
duced by the Collotype Process. With Transcription and Trans- 
lation. Text in 4to. pp. 7 and 2 facsimiles in large folio. 5^. 

Margoliouth (D. S.). — Chrestomathia Baidawiana. The Commentary of 
El-Baidiwi on Sura III. Translated and explained for the use 
of Students of Arabic. By D. S. Margoliouth, M.A., Laudian 
Professor of Arabic in the University of Oxford, etc, etc. Post 8vo. 
Cloth, I2J. net 

" The book is as scholarly as it is useful. Of particular importance are the 
numerous grammatical annotations which give the beginner an insight into the 
method of the Arabic national grammarians, and which form an excellent preparatory 
study for the perusal of these works in the original. . . . The introduction, and the 
remarks in particular, show how well Mr. Margoliouth has mastered the immense 
literatures of Moslem Tradition, Grammar, and Kalaim. . . . The perusal of the 
book affords pleasure from banning to tnd," journal Royal Asiatic Society, 

Mlchell (R. L. N.). — ^An Eg^tian Calendar for the Koptic year 1617 
(1900-1901 A.D.). Corresponding with the years 1318-1319 of the 
Mohammedan Era. By Roland L. N. Michell. Demy 8vo. 
130 pp. Cloth, 3J. Paper covers, 2s, 6d, 

Some Notices of an Egyptian Calendar for the year 1395 A.H. (1878 A.D.). 
Published by Mr. Michell in Egypt in 1877. 

Ust of Books and Periodicals. 9 

" One of the strangest pieces of reading probably ever offered under the name of 
contemporary literature. . . . There is no fear that anyone who uses this 
little book for consultation during a visit to Egypt will fail to see any particular 
celebration for want of exact information as to its probable date." — Saturday Review. 

"This quaint and entertaining pamphlet may claim a foremost place among 
curiosities of modern literature. . . . Never was information so new, so old, 
so varied, so fantastic, or packed in so small a compass. . . . The Glossary 
may be describe! as a local gazetteer, a brief biographical dictionary of holy and 
historical personages, an epitome of popular customs and superstitions, and a 
handbook of the agricultural and natural phenomena of the Nile Valley." — Academy, 

Mirkhond. — The Ranzat-us-Safa ; or Garden of Purity. Translated from 
the original Persian by E. Rehatsek ; edited by F. F. Arbuthnot. 
8vo. Cloth, Vols. I to V. I or. net each volume. 

Vols. I and a contain : The Histories of Prophets, Kings, and Khalifs. 

Vols. 3 and 4 contain : The Life of Muhammad the Apostle of AUah. 

Vol. 5 contains : The Lives of Ahix. Bakr, O'mar, O'thm&n, and AH. the four 
immediate successors of Muhammad the Apostle. 

Muallakat — The Seyen Poems suspended in the Temple at Mecca. 
Translated from the Arabic. By Capt. F. E. Johnson. With an 
Introduction by Shaikh FaizullabhaL 8vo. pp. xxiv, 238. 7s. 6d. 

Picart (Bernard).— Scenes de la vie Juive dessinees d'apr^s Nature i>ar 
Bernard Picart 1663-1733. Sixteen Plates (Reproduction en helio- 
gravure Dujardin). Together in a beautiful cloth cover, richly 
ornamented with gold and colours. Folio. (Frcs. 50.) 12s, 6d. net. 

Rogers (R W.).— A History of Babylonia and Assyria. By Robert 
William Rogers, Ph.D. (Leipzig), D.D., LL.D., F.R.G.S., 
Professor in Drew Theological Seminary, Madison, New Jersey. 
Third edition. Two vols. Royal 8vo. Cloth, pp. xx, 430, and 
XV, 418. 20s. net 

" The first volume of one of the most useful works yet published on Assyriology 
has just appeared. It is not only a history of Babylonia and Assyria brought up to 
date, it is also a history of Assyrian and Babylonian excavation and of cuneiform 
decipherment For the first time the reader has placed before him a (uU and 
interesting account of one of the romances of historical science — the discovery and 
decipherment of the cuneiform inscriptions." — ExpostUtry Times. 

*' I consider Rogers's ' History of Babylonia and Assyria ' a really useful book, the 
best of its kind so far written in English. The fairness with which the author 
endeavours to represent different views so frequently held with regard to the earlier 
dynasties and events makes his work especially desirable for the student in the 
class-room."— H. V. Hilprecht, Ph.D., D.D., LL.D., Professor in the University 
of Pennsylvania^ Scientific Director of Babylonian Exploration Fund. 

Rosen (F.). — ^A Modem Persian Colloquial Grammar. Containing a 
short Grammar, Dialogues and Extracts from Nasir Eddin Shah's 
Diaries, Tales, etc., and a Vocabulary. Crown 8vo. Cloth, 
pp. xiv, 400. I or. 6^ 

" Dr. Rosen's learned work will be useful to all who have occasion to go to 
Persia, Baluchistan, and Afghanistan. The Vocabulary will be a boon to students, 
especially as it is in the same volume with the grammar and the dialc^ues." — 
Publ. Circular. 

" Very useful to students." — Westminster Review. 

*' Excellent guide to the acquisition of Persian." — Asiatic Quarterly Review, 

lo Messrs. Luzac 6r* Co.^s 

Ruben (Paul). — Critical Remarks upon some Passages of the Old 

Testament. By Paul Ruben, Ph.D. 4to. Cloth, pp. ii, 24, 14. 
3^. 6d, Paper covers, 2s. td, 

" It may suffice to congratulate ourselves that a scholar of vigorous mind and 
accurate philological training is devoting his leisure to a subject worthy of attention. 
. . . . Very many of the notes are in a high degree stimulating and suggestive. 
The get-up of the book is excellent."— -.4 ^o^/^wiy. 

" Dr. Ruben shows much originality, a wide knowledge of authorities, and a true 
grasp of critical principles." — Jewish Chronicle. 

Sauerwein (G.). — A Pocket Dictionary of the English and Turkish 
I'Ans^uages. Small 8vo. Limp cloth, pp. 298. 3^. 6d. net. 

Sayce (A. H.). —Address to the Assjrrian Section of the Ninth International 
Congress of Orientalists. 8vo, pp. 32. is. 

Scholia on Passa8:es of the Old Testament By Max Jacob, Bishop of 
Edessa. Now first edited in the original Syriac, with an English 
Translation and Notes by G. PHILLIP, D.D. 8vo. Paper covers. 
5J. net. 

Thompson (R. Campbell). — The Reports of the Magicians and Astrologers 
of Nineveh and Babylon. In the British Museum. The Original 
Text, printed in Cuneiform Characters, edited with Translations, 
Notes, Vocabulary, Index, and an Introduction. By R. Campbell 
Thompson, B.A. (Cantab.), Assistant in the Department of Egyptian 
and Assyrian Antiquities, British Museum. In two vols. Vol. I, 
The Cuneiform Texts. Vol. II, English Translations, Vocabulary, 
etc. Roy. 8vo. Cloth. I2J. td, net each. 

" Mr. Thompson gives us the cuneiform text of what is, practically, the complete 
series of the Astrological Reports of the Royal Library at Nineveh — that is to say, 
copies of about 380 tablets and transliterations of about 2ao duplicates, without 
reckoning the transliterations of the texts of the original series. In addition, we 
find a translation of the tablets in English, and a vocabulary, with references, and 
a subject index. The work in each of these sections has been carefully done." — 

" The value of the book is enhanced by its excellent indices. Those who wish 
to know what the astrological lore of Babylonia was like cannot do better than 
study it" — Expository Times, 

Thompson (R. Campbell).— Assyrian Incantations, Spells, and Formnle, 
directed against the Attacks of Evil Spirits. Translated and Trans- 
literated, with Vocabulary, Indexes, and an Introduction. 2 vols. 
Roy. 8vo. (In the Press.) 

Tiele (C. P.). — Western Asia, according to the most recent Discoveries. 
Rectorial Address on the occasion of the 318th Anniversary of the 
Leyden University, 8th February, 1893. Translated by ELIZABETH J. 
Taylor. Small 8vo. Cloth, pp. 36. is. 6d. 

"An authoritative summary of the results of recent Oriental research and 
discovery." — The Times. 

" The address presents a graphic picture of the political situation in Western Asia 
in the fifteenth and fourleenUi centuries B.c." — Morning Post. 

List of Books and Periodicals, 1 1 

Transactions of the Ninth International Congress of Orientalists. — 

London, 5th to 12th September, 1892. Edited by E. Delmar 

Morgan. 2 vols. Roy. 8vo. Cloth. 35J. 

Vol. I contains : Indian and Aryan Sections. 21J. 

Vol. II contains : Semitic, Egypt and Africa, Geographical, Archaic Greece and 
the East, Persia and Turkey, China, Central Asia and the Far East, Australasia, 
Anthropology and Mythology Sections. 21J. 

Vamb^ (A.).— The Travels and Adventures of the Turkish General 
Sidi Ali R^is in India, Afghanistan, Central Asia, and Persia, during 
the years 1 553-1 556. Translated from the Turkish, with Notes, 
by A. V. 8vo, pp. xviii, 123. 5^. 

" This book is highly interesting."— Westminster Review, 

Wildeboer (G.).— The Origin of the Canon of the Old Testament An 

Historico-Critical Enquiry. Translated by WiSNER BACON. Edited 

with Preface by Professor George F. Moore. Roy. 8vo. Cloth, 

pp. xii, 182. 7 J. 6d, 

"We will only add that we cordially echo the Professor's hope that bis book may 
not only be read by professed students, but that it may come also into the hands of 
such as have already left the University." — Guardian. 

Wilkinson (J. R.). — A Johannine Dociunent in the First Chapter of 
St. Luke's Gospel. Roy. 8vo, pp. 38. Cloth, 2s, Paper cover, is, 6d, 

Winckler (H.).— The Tell-£1-Amama Letters. Transliteration, English 
Translation, Vocabulary, etc Roy. 8vo. Cloth, pp. xlii, 416, and 
50 pages Indices. 21s. net 

The same, in paper covers, 20s, 

" The present work does not aim to g^ve the final exposition of the Tell-el-Amarna 
Letters, but only the beginning of such exposition. The author has solved many 

" The purpose of the vocabularies and catalogue of proper names is to make easy 
the penetration and independent investigation of our subject. Especially in case of 
the first, it was important to hit upon a selection from the innumerable repetitions. 
A full citation of all the places would make their examination almost impossible." 

Wright (W.). — The Book of Jonah in four Semitic versions. Chaldee, 
Syriac, Aethiopic, and Arabic. With corresponding Glossaries. 8vo. 
Cloth, pp. 148. \s. net. 

Wynkoop (J. D.). — Manual of Hebrew Syntax. Translated from the 

Dutch by C. Van den Biesen. 8vo. Cloth, pp. xxii, 152, and 

Index. 2s. (>d, net. 

" It is a book which every Hebrew student should possess, ... we recommend 
it for general usefulness, and thank Dr. Van den Biesen for giving it to the English 
reader." — Jewish World. 

"It is one of those books which will become indispensable to the English student 
who will desire to become acquainted with the construction of Hebrew syntax . . . 
this takes a high rank and will undoubtedly become a general textbook on the 
subject in many colleges and universities." — American Hebrew News. 

Wynkoop (J. D.). — Manual of Hebrew Grammar. Translated from the 
Dutch by C. Van den Biesen. 8vo. Cloth, 2s. bd. net. - 

" We have nothing but praise for the Rev. Wynkoop's Manual of Hebrew 
Grammar. It is clear and concise : the rules are very intelligible, and the examples 
are telling. . . . We heartily recommend this book, and congratulate Mej»srs. 
Lu2ac on the style of its production." — Asiatic Quarterly Review.